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Joanna Simon Opera Singer and Sister of Carly Simon Dies at Age 82

This week, singer/songwriter Carly Simon lost both of her sisters: Thursday, 82-year-old Broadway composer Lucy Simon died of breast cancer, and Wednesday, 84-year-old opera vocalist Joanna Simon died of thyroid cancer.

A source close to the Grammy and Academy Award-winning music artist confirmed both deaths to Deadline on Friday. Peter Simon, their younger brother, and a photographer died of heart arrest in 2018 following his own fight with cancer.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2015, Lucy referred to her older sister Joanna as “the imperial queen, very stunning.”

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In 1962, the mezzo-soprano Joanna Simon made her New York City Opera debut as Cherubino in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” A decade later, she portrayed the title part in the Seattle Opera’s world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s “Black Widow.” She was an Emmy-winning arts journalist for PBS’s “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” until 1992, following her partial retirement from the world of opera.

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She was married to author Gerald Walker from 1976 until his death in 2004, and she was Walter Cronkite’s partner from 2005 until his death in 2009.

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Lucy composed the music for the 1991 and 2011 Broadway musicals “The Secret Garden” and “Doctor Zhivago,” for which she won Grammy and Drama Desk Awards and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Score.


She also sang with Carly as the Simon Sisters. In 2015, she told The New York Times, “So much of what I love about my work on ‘Doctor Zhivago’ comes from my work with Carly, discovering the harmonies in duets, trios, and quartets.”

She was awarded the Samuel French Award for Sustained Excellence in American Theater in 2018.

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