Sad notice on a Thanksgiving weekend. Irene Cara has died at age 63, per her publicist. The Oscar-winning singer was best known for the Flashdance theme “What A Feeling” and for starring in Fame and singing that film’s unforgettable title song. Her cause of death hasn’t yet been divulged.
Cara got her Oscar for Best Original Song for the Flashdance tune “What A Feeling,” and also won two Grammys for a lively chart topper that perfectly captured the underdog journey of the welder-turned-dancer played by Jennifer Beals.
Wrote Cara’s publicist Judith A. Moose on Twitter, “It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara. 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.”
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Cara catapulted to stardom when she starred in the Alan Parker-directed musical Fame about a group of diverse teens attending New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts. The title song won an Oscar for Original Song while the film took Original Score. Cara later solidified her position as an 80s icon with “Flashdance… What A Feeling,” which won the Oscar for Original Song with Cara as lyricist.
Her Grammy wins included Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special, both for “What A Feeling.”
Born in New York City, Cara began on Spanish-language television singing and dancing. She moved on to the networks with appearances on “The Original Amateur Hour,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. She did various on and off Broadway productons, including “Ain’t Misbehavin” and the Obie Award-winning musical ‘The Me Nobody Knows.”
She moved on to become a part of “The Electric Company,” a children’s educational show where she participated as a member of the group “The Short Circus,” teaching children about grammar through music.
Post-“Fame” and “Flashdance,” she appeared in numerous television shows and appeared worldwide in concert.