Irene Cara, ‘Flashdance’ and ‘Fame’ singer, dies at 63

The Oscar- and Grammy-winning artist passed away in her Florida home, her publicist announced via statement.

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Irene Cara is photographed during an interview in Los Angeles, in 1990. The singer-actress has died at the age of 63. 

Irene Cara is photographed during an interview in Los Angeles, in 1990. The singer-actress has died at the age of 63.


Irene Cara, the singer and actress perhaps best-known for her Oscar-, Golden Globe- and Grammy Award-winning hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling,” which she co-wrote and performed for the 1983 film “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.

Cara’s publicist, Judith A. Moose, announced her passing in a statement via social media, writing in part, “This is the absolute worst part of being a publicist. I can’t believe I’ve had to write this, let alone release the news. Please share your thoughts and memories of Irene. I’ll be reading each and every one of them and know she’ll be smiling from Heaven. She adored her fans.”

The cause of death has not been revealed.

Cara skyrocketed to fame in 1980 with her hit “Fame,” which won as Oscar and Golden Globe Award for best original song from the film of the same name. Cara also co-starred in the cult classic film about New York’s High School for the Performing Arts as student Coco Hernandez. A second song from the movie’s soundtrack, the piano-driven ballad “Out Here On My Own,” which Cara also performed, became a worldwide hit for the singer.

Cara was born in the Bronx, New York, on March 18, 1959. She began her show business career in the 1970s with a recurring role on the PBS kids series “Electric Company.” Her other film roles include 1976’s “Sparkle” and the 1989 animated feature “Happily Ever After” in which she voiced the character Snow White.

In the 1990s, Cara starred as Mary Magdalene opposite Ted Neeley as Jesus and Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung as Pontius Pilate in the national touring production of the stage musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which played the Chicago Theatre in 1993.

Tributes from her Hollywood colleagues were posted to social media on Saturday as news of Cara’s passing spread.

Jennifer Beals, who starred in “Flashdance,” took to Instagram to pay her respects: “Thank you brilliant Irene for your open heart and your fearless triple threat talent. It took a beautiful dreamer to write and perform the soundtracks for those who dare to dream.”

Actress-choreographer Debbie Allen tweeted “FOREVER REMEMBER HER NAME!,” in reference to the lyrics of “Fame,” from the film in which Allen co-starred with Cara.

Actor-comedian John Leguizamo praised the Latina artist on Twitter, writing in part: “She made me believe if you were Latin you could make it!”

More to come....

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