NEW YORK – Lucy Simon, the composer who received a Tony nomination in 1991 for her work on the long-running Broadway musical “The Secret Garden,” has died. She was 82.
Simon, sister of pop superstar Carly Simon, died Thursday at her home in Piedmont, New York, a family spokesperson said. Simon had breast cancer.
“The Secret Garden,” with a book by Marsha Norman, opened in New York in 1991. Reviews were mixed, but it won a Tony for best book of a musical and went on to play for almost two years. A slightly revised version opened in London’s West End, and a pared-down-from-Broadway version went on tour.
The musical — adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel — focuses on Mary, a young English girl forced to move to England from colonial India when her parents die of cholera. She moves in with her Uncle Archibald, a hunchback who is mourning his late wife, Lily, and blaming his bedridden son for her death.
While living in her uncle’s home, Mary discovers a hidden and neglected garden that once belonged to Lily, and she and a young gardener bring it back to life. At the same time, she brings new life to her uncle and cousin. The songs include “The Girl I Mean to Be” and “How Could I Ever Know.”
Steven Pasquale and Sierra Boggess were among the Broadway stars mourning Simon's passing. “Her music is her gift to the world. In one of her last messages to me she said ‘I was going to ask you to carry my voice onward’ and I sat and wept,” Boggess wrote on Instagram.
Simon was born in New York on May 5, 1940, to publishing giant Richard Simon and his wife, Andrea. She was the second oldest of four children Joanna, Lucy, Carly and Peter.
Carly and Lucy once performed as the Simon Sisters, opening for other acts in Greenwich Village folk clubs. Their recording of “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod” hit No. 73 on the Billboard charts in 1964.
While Carly Simon would find huge success with such hits as “Anticipation,” “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” and “You’re So Vain,” Lucy went to nursing school.
After marrying and having children, Lucy Simon recorded two solo albums, “Lucy Simon” (1975) and “Stolen Time” (1977), for RCA. Lucy and her husband, David Levine, produced two Grammy-winning children’s albums, “In Harmony” (1981) and “In Harmony 2" (1983).
Her return to Broadway in “Doctor Zhivago” in 2015 was less successful. The tale of five intertwined lovers set during final days of czarist Russia lasted less than two months after blistering reviews.
She is survived by her husband; her children, Julie Simon and James Levine; and four grandchildren Sophie, Ben, Charlie and Evie.