Beloved singer and actress Lesley Gore, who starred in the Batman TV series throughout the 1960s, has sadly passed away in Manhattan, New York. She was 68.
Extremely talented and exceptionally beautiful though she was, her achievements and legacy go far beyond anything seen on screen or heard on record.
Her life is not just an inspiration to singers and actors, it's an inspiration to all of us.
Ms. Gore was born Lesley Sue Goldstein on May 2, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. She had just turned 16 when the youthful brightness in her voice started to shine and she was signed to Mercury Records.
With songs like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and the defiant 1964 single “You Don’t Own Me,” Gore produced songs filled with teenage angst and heartbreak, which would later become feminist ballads.
Even though she was still at high school, she was soon inundated with offers of work - music, TV, even Hollywood, but she remained true to her roots and focused on her education, telling an interviewer at the time,
“It would be very foolish of me to leave school to go into such an unpredictable field on a full-time basis.”
As the tide turned and pop bands became psychedelic bands, Gore tried her hand at something new.
She branched out to play Catwoman’s sidekick, Pussycat, in the legendary Batman TV series which aired between 1966 and 1968. Her character was one of dangerous intrigue and desire; she tried to seduce Robin on more than one occasion!
She even sang one of her hits, California Nights, on the show.
Watch Lesley Gore starring as Pussycat in the Batman TV series:
The most admirable thing about Lesley Gore was that she was never afraid of saying what she thought, nor ashamed of being who she was. She officially came out to the public as lesbian in 2005. The star said she didn’t know she was gay until she was in her twenties. She told an interviewer for AfterEllen.com:
“Times were very different then, so you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible.”
Her last wish was granted as she died with her partner of 33 years, Lois Sasson, at her side. Lois said in a statement on Monday,
“She was a wonderful human being — caring, giving, a great feminist, great woman, great human being, great humanitarian.”
Gore continued to make TV appearances, release albums and had recently been working on a memoir and a Broadway Show based on her life. In 1981 she was nominated for an Oscar for the song 'Out Here on My Own,' which soundtracked the movie Fame.
In 1963, when Gore was aged just 17, she sang on her smash hit 'You Don't Own Me.'
"And don't tell me what to do, and don't tell me what to say."
Nobody ever did, and she wouldn't have listened even if they had: great advice for all of us.