Carly Simon, a musician, has suffered the loss of both of her sisters, Lucy and Joanna, to cancer, each just one day apart from the other. Lucy, who was best known throughout her life and career for her work as a composer on Broadway, passed away on Thursday in her home in Piermont, New York from metastatic breast cancer at the age of 82. According to reports from the New York Times, Joanna, the eldest of the sisters and a well-known opera singer, passed away from thyroid cancer on Wednesday at the age of 85.
Lucy Simon’s contributions to the long-running musical “The Secret Garden” earned her a nomination for a Tony Award in the category of Original Score during her time while working on Broadway. She and her sister Carly Simon started out as a folk group in Provincetown, Massachusetts under the name the Simon Sisters. In 1964, their recording of “Wynken, Blynken & Nod” reached No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Prior to her career as a composer, she was a folk musician. In 1981, Lucy Simon and her husband David Levine received a Grammy for their recording of “In Harmony” in the category of Best Recording for Children. They went on to win the prize again in 1983 for the album’s sequel.
More recently, Lucy Simon had contributed work to the musical “On Cedar Street,” which was based on the book “Our Souls at Night” and directed by Victoria Clark. However, Lucy was forced to withdraw from the project because of her fight against cancer, and Victoria Clark directed the musical instead. Her husband David, her daughter Julie and her ex-husband Christopher Knight, her sister Carly, and her grandchildren Sophie, Ben, Charlie, and Evie are the only members of her family to have survived her passing.
In 1962, Joanna Simon made her debut as Mozart’s Cherubino at the New York City Opera. This performance marked the beginning of her career as a performer on opera and concert stages frequently. At the Seattle Opera in 1972, she gave the performance that became known as the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s “Black Widow.”
At the Caramoor Music Festival in 1975, she gave the performance that became known as the world premiere of Robert Starer’s “The Last Lover.” Her career as a singer lasted until 1986, during which time she took part in a number of recordings with orchestras, including appearances with the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Following her retirement from the music industry, Joanna worked as an arts correspondent for the “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” on PBS until 1992. It was for her report on the relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity that she was awarded an Emmy in 1991. Between the years 1976 and 2004, she was married to novelist and journalist Gerald Walker, and between 2005 and 2009, she was in a relationship with Walter Cronkite.
The death of Peter Simon, the youngest of the four Simon siblings and a photographer, was immediately followed by the passing of his sisters Lucy and Joanna. After battling cancer for many years, he passed away in 2018 at the age of 71 from a cardiac arrest.