One day apart from one another, singer Carly Simon lost both of her sisters, Lucy and Joanna, to cancer. At the age of 82, Lucy, who spent her whole life and career on Broadway as a composer, passed away from metastatic breast cancer at her Piermont, New York, home. According to the New York Times, Joanna, the oldest sister and well-known opera singer, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 85 due to thyroid cancer.
For her work on the popular musical “The Secret Garden,” Lucy Simon was nominated for a Tony award for Original Score during her time on Broadway. Prior to her career as a songwriter, she and Carly Simon performed as the Simon Sisters, a folk duo from Provincetown, Massachusetts. In 1964, their song “Wynken, Blynken & Nod” peaked at No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1981, Lucy Simon and her husband David Levine won a Grammy for “In Harmony” in the category of Best Recording for Children; they did so again in 1983 for the album’s follow-up.
Lucy Simon had recently contributed to the musical “On Cedar Street,” which is based on the 2015 book “Our Souls at Night,” with Victoria Clark serving as the director, but she was forced to leave the project due to her struggle with cancer. Her children Julie and Christopher Knight, her sister Carly, her husband David, her daughter Julie, and her grandchildren Sophie, Ben, Charlie, and Evie all survive her.
When Joanna Simon made her stage debut at the New York City Opera as Mozart’s Cherubino in 1962, she began appearing often on opera and concert stages. She performed the title role in Thomas Pasatieri’s “Black Widow” in its world premiere at the Seattle Opera in 1972, and she played Pelagia in Robert Starer’s “The Last Lover” in its world debut at the Caramoor Music Festival in 1975. Her vocal career lasted until 1986, during which time she took part in numerous orchestral recordings, including appearances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic.
Joanna continued to work as an arts correspondent for PBS’s “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” after she gave up performing music until 1992. In 1991, she received an Emmy for her story on the relationship between creativity and bipolar disease. She dated Walter Cronkite from 2005 until his passing in 2009, and she was married to novelist and journalist Gerald Walker from 1976 until his death in 2004.
The passing of Peter Simon, the youngest of the four siblings and a photographer, was followed by the deaths of Lucy and Joanna Simon. After a battle with cancer, he passed away at the age of 71 from a cardiac arrest.