‘Secret Garden’ Composer Carly Simon Sister Was 82 – The Hollywood Reporter

Lucy Simon, the songwriter and sister of pop superstar Carly Simon who received a 1991 Tony Award nomination for her work on the long-running Broadway musical The secret garden, is dead. She was 82 years old.

Simon died Thursday at her home in Piedmont, New York, after a long battle with breast cancer, a family spokesperson said.

She and Carly began their career in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as The Simon Sisters, and their folk act opened for the likes of The Tarriers at Greenwich Village nightclubs. Their recording of “Wynken, Blynken & Nod” reached number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.

Lucy Simon became the rare composer to have a Broadway show when The secret garden debuted in April 1991. Starring Rebecca Luker, Mandy Patinkin, Alison Fraser and Daisy Eagan and based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved children’s novel, the musical ran for 709 Broadway performances, won two Tonys and has been performed worldwide.

His next musical, Doctor Zhivagodebuted in Australia after nearly 20 years in the making and landed on Broadway in March 2015. She said her inspiration for it came from the poems Boris Pasternak wrote as Zhivago at the end of his epic novel from 1957.

“These poems were my path to music, my inspiration to tell the story in song,” she said.

Simon was born in New York City on May 5, 1940. His father was publishing giant Richard Simon and his mother, Andrea, was once a switchboard operator at Simon & Schuster.

She was the second eldest of four children: she followed Joanna and preceded Carly and Peter. They all grew up in a musical family where his parents entertained such luminaries as James Thurber, Richard Rodgers, Benny Goodman and Oscar Hammerstein.

A school assignment to memorize and recite a poem prompted Simon, then 14 years old and dyslexic, to write music for Eugene Field’s poem “Wynken, Blynken & Nod”. It was the only way she could remember.

While Carly would enjoy huge success with hits such as “Anticipation”, “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” and “You’re So Vain”, Lucy went to nursing school and married the psychiatrist David Levine in 1967. However, she returned to record two solo albums for RCA, 1975 Lucy Simon and 1977 Stolen time (Carly and James Taylor provided backing vocals on the latter).

She and her husband went on to produce a pair of Grammy-winning children’s albums, 1981 In harmony and 1983 In harmony 2.

Simon has acquired the rights to shoot the classic children’s book little house on the prairie in a musical and worked with lyricist Susan Birkenhead on it, but the project never moved forward.

Playwright Marsha Norman, who wrote the book and lyrics to The secret gardenand producer Heidi Landesman hired Simon as a composer after hearing a demo melody she had written for “I Heard Someone Crying”.

The Center Theater Group in Los Angeles will present a new production of The secret gardendirected by Warren Carlyle, at the Ahmanson Theater from February 19 to March 26. A concert version of Doctor Zhivago with Ramin Karimloo is scheduled for May 9 at the Palladium in London.

Simon also wrote and produced the songs and soundtrack for the 1993 HBO TV movie The positively true adventures of the Texas cheerleader’s alleged murderous motherwith Holly Hunter.

In 2018, she received the Samuel French Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theatre.

Simon had worked with Birkenhead and Emily Mann on the musical On Cedars Streetbased on the 2015 book Our souls at night and edited by Victoria Clark. Her battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer forced her to withdraw from the project, but some of her music will live on.

In addition to her sister and her husband, survivors include her children, Julie (and her former husband, Christopher) and James (and his wife, Alanna), and her grandchildren Sophie, Ben, Charlie and Evie.

“I believe that life and art continue into the future,” she once said. “The melody always brings me home. It takes me where I want to go. It’s my religion, like the old gods are talking to me.