‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ Singer Irene Cara Dies at 63

Irene Cara
Warner Bros./Courtesy: Everett Collection

Irene Cara, the pop star behind the soundtrack hits “Fame” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” has died. The singer and actor was 63.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Judith A. Moose, Cara’s publicist, wrote in a Twitter message early on Saturday, November 26. “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. 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.”

Alongside that statement, Moose wrote, “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.”

Born Irene Cara Escalera, the Bronx native starred on the PBS educational series The Electric Company as a child and appeared on Broadway as a teen and young adult, performing in productions of Maggie Flynn, The Me Nobody Knows, Via Galactica, and Got Tu Go Disco.

Cara hit the big time with her starring role in the 1980 musical film Fame, in which she played Coco Hernandez and performed the title track and the songs “Out Here on My Own” and “Hot Lunch Jam.” Her work in the film and its soundtrack earned Cara a Golden Globe nomination and two Grammy nominations.

In 1983, Cara returned to the charts with “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” the title track to the film Flashdance and a song she co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey. The track stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and earned Cara an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and two Grammys.

In another tweet on Saturday, Moose wrote that Cara was working on “amazing projects that would have made her and her fans incredibly happy” at the time of her death.

“Her manager and I will finish them,” the publicist added. “She’d want that.”