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Lesley Gore is a singer-songwriter best remembered for her 1963 smash single "It's My Party." Gore also scored hits with "Maybe I Know" and "You Don't Own Me."
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Though Gore did not come out as gay until after the heyday of her fame had passed, she says she never concealed it from the people who were close to her: "I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible."
After college, Gore continued to release singles but also began to explore other creative avenues, including television and stage performances. She once guest-starred on the hit TV show Batman as Pussycat, lip-synching "California Nights" in the episode.
As the 1970s progressed, Gore moved out of the spotlight to pursue songwriting. Dropped from Mercury Record in 1969 due to waning record sales, Gore was free to write her own songs instead of performing someone else's. "That's what got me to the piano," she said. "That's what got me up in the morning: a blank piece of paper and a hope to have something by the end of the day."
In 1972, Gore released her first album for a new label, Mowest. Entitled Someplace Else Now, the songs reflected her evolution as a songwriter and a person. She followed with Love Me By Name in 1976 and The Canvas Can Do Miracles in 1982. In the '80s, she also wrote songs for the hit movie Fame. One of the tracks, "Out Here on My Own," a powerful anthem that she wrote with her younger brother, Michael, was nominated for an Academy Award. Around the same time, she fell in love with the woman who would become her life partner.
Mostly content to drop out of the spotlight, Lesley Gore did not release an album or single between 1982 and 2005. Toward the end of this time, she began hosting episodes of a PBS documentary series called In the Life, focusing on gay and lesbian issues.
She officially came out to the public at large on the show, something she said her work on the show inspired her to do: "I met a lot of young people in the Midwest, and I saw what a difference a show like In the Life can make to their lives in some of these small towns where, you know, there are probably two gay people in the whole damn town."
Asked in 2009 what she thinks will happen regarding the battle over gay marriage in the United States, she said, "I think it's important, not so much to be married to your partner as to be given the civil rights that married couples get, so I'm on that bandwagon ... I know it takes some people a little longer. They come to this with histories, apprehensions, fears because they don't understand. The more people understand that they probably already know a gay person, and in fact adore them, then the better off we're gonna be—and that may take awhile, but it's happening, for sure. By the time I shut my eyes for good, I'll have seen a real difference, I think, and I'm happy about that."
In 2005, Gore released a comeback album, Ever Since, which was praised by critics and featured in the soundtracks to several movies and television shows, including CSI and The L Word.
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