American actress and singer Irene Cara, best known for starring in Fame and penning the song Flashdance, passed away on November 25, 2022. The Academy Award winner was 63 years old at the time of her passing.
Details about her passing and the cause of death have not been disclosed. However, her passing was announced via social media in a statement issued by Cara’s publicist, Judith A. Moose, on behalf of Cara’s family.
The brief statement confirmed Cara passed away at her home in Florida and that more details would be released when available. It also requested privacy for the Cara family as they grieve.
Moose’s statement also noted that Cara was a “beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.” During her lifetime, Cara had taken on many titles, including actress, singer, songwriter, and producer.
The statement was paired with a photo of Cara and indicated that funeral services are being planned and will be disclosed at another date. Moose also expressed her sadness at Cara’s passing.
She stated, “I can’t believe I’ve had to write this, let alone release the news.”
However, she encouraged Cara’s supporters to reach out with thoughts and memories of the singer and promised to read each one.
The life and legacy of Irene Cara
While Cara was most often associated with Fame and Flashdance, she had quite an illustrious career. Her work in the music and acting industry began when she was just a child and continued through to the 21st century.
Cara was born on March 18, 1959, and was one of five children born to her Latin American parents, Gaspar and Louise Escalera. She was raised in New York City and soon began practicing singing and acting.
Through hard work and dedication, she made her acting debut when she was just eight years old. She also began working with a manager, Selma Rubin, at age 11.
Before she made it to high school, she had starred in a Broadway play, been a finalist in the Little Miss America pageant, and won a prestigious Obie Award. In an interview with Ebony magazine in 1981, she attributed her success solely to her hard work and denied it was a result of luck or her good looks.
By the time she was 17, she had broken into the film industry with a role in Aaron Loves Angela. This would be followed by a role in Sparkle and, later, in Fame.
While she had been working her whole life, it was after Fame that she gained international recognition.
Irene Cara’s Fame and Flashdance success
Cara’s role in Fame was her dual breakthrough in the film and music industry. She had initially been cast as a dancer, but her talent quickly won her over the lead role of Coco Hernandez.
In addition to starring as Hernandez, she sang the film’s titular song and its other single called Out Here on My Own, both of which were nominated for Academy Awards. Meanwhile, Hernandez also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her role.
Just three years later, Cara penned the song Flashdance for the film of the same name and took home her own Academy Award for the song, as well as two Grammy Awards.
After Flashdance, Cara would go on to star in the comedy, City Heat, alongside Clint Eastwood. She also continued delving into music and ultimately released four studio albums, the most recent of which came out in 2011.
By the 2000s she had largely left the film industry, though her honors didn’t stop pouring in. She was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the sixth annual Prestige Awards in 2004 and got to perform on the competitive TV show Hit Me, Baby, One More Time in 2005.
Cara was a talented actress and singer whose incredible achievements in the music and film industry will not soon be forgotten.