Irene Cara, star of 1980s film Fame and singer of “Fame” and “Flashdance,” died suddenly at age 63. Cara was found deceased in her Florida home.
Her publicist Judith A. Moose broke the news on Twitter early Saturday.
“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Judith confirmed.
“The Academy Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer passed away in her Florida home. Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when information is available.”
The statement continued:
“Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief. She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films. Funeral services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date.”
Judith captioned the statement:
“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. – JM.”
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. – JM pic.twitter.com/TsC5BwZ3fh
— Irene Cara (@Irene_Cara) November 26, 2022
Cara was born the youngest of five children in the Bronx, New York in 1959.
The former child star was trained in dance, music, and acting. She started her career singing and dancing on Spanish language television in New York.
She appeared as a child on PBS’ education series “The Electric Company.” From there she moved on to off-Broadway shows and appeared on Johnny Carson‘s “The Tonight Show,” in the 1970s.
Cara (pictured right) was cast as the title character Sparkle Williams in the original 1976 musical film Sparkle alongside Dwan Smith, Lonette McKee, and actor Philip Michael Thomas.
She found overnight fame as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 film Fame, and for recording the film’s title song “Fame (I’m Gonna Live Forever).”
Cara was originally cast as a dancer in Fame, but when producers heard her sing, they offered her the role of Coco Hernandez.
She sang both the title song “Fame” and the film’s other single, “Out Here on My Own”, off the multi-platinum No. 1 soundtrack.
“Fame” won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1980.
Cara declined when asked by Fame TV series’ producers to reprise her role as Coco Hernandez. Actress Erica Gimpel was given the TV role.
At age 24, Cara co-wrote the Flashdance title song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” while riding in a car to a recording studio in New York in 1983. She won the Academy Award for Best Song for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” in 1983, a Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award in 1984 for Best Original Song for “Flashdance”, and American Music Awards for Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year in 1984.
The accomplished actress starred in many films and on TV. She also recorded four albums, including What a Feelin’ (1983) which spawned the single “Breakdance”.
Cara was married to stuntman and film director Conrad Palmisano for 5 years. They divorced in 1991. She had no children.