Oscar, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy winning singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie Fame and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance … What a Feeling” from 1983’s “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
Her publicist, Judith A. Moose, announced the news on social media, writing that a cause of death was “currently unknown.” Moose also confirmed the death to an Associated Press reporter on Saturday. Cara died at her home in Florida. The exact day of her death was not disclosed.
“Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief,” Moose wrote. “She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”
During her career, Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Breakdance,” “Out Here On My Own,” “Fame” and “Flashdance … What A Feeling,” which spent six weeks at No. 1. She was behind some of the most joyful, high-energy pop anthems of the early ’80s.
Tributes poured in on Saturday on social media, including from Deborah Cox, who called Cara an inspiration, and Holly Robinson Peete, who recalled seeing Cara perform: “The insane combination of talent and beauty was overwhelming to me. This hurts my heart so much.”
Three years later, Cara co-wrote the lyrics for “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” another radio smash for which she received an Oscar for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.
She had a few other hits, including “Why Me” and “Breakdance.” She also acted in movies such as “City Heat” with Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood, “D.C. Cab” with Mr. T and “Certain Fury” with Tatum O’Neal.
According to a report by US-based entertainment portal Variety, Cara first gained notoriety as Coco Hernandez as a High School of Performings Arts student with aspirations of becoming a famous actress.
Cara not only performed in the movie, but also sang ‘Fame,’ the film’s soundtrack. That song and ‘Out Here on My Own,’ another Cara-sung number from ‘Fame,’ would later be nominated for an Academy Award for best Oiginal Song’.
Despite director Alan Parker’s initial scepticism, they were successful because composer Michael Gore called him shortly after working with Cara in the studio to inform him that they had a vocal powerhouse on their hands.
What was she doing last?
Her most recent musical project, “Hot Caramel,” is a two-CD compilation featuring a spectacular ensemble of female musicians and vocalists she formed and produced.
In ‘Sparkle’, how old was Irene Cara?
Irene Cara was only 13 years old when she was cast in the original “Sparkle,” a musical drama about three African American sisters, who joined a singing group in the late 1950s.