'Fame,' 'Flashdance' Singer Irene Cara Dies At 63


Irene Cara, best known for singing the theme songs to Fame and Flashdance, died Friday at her home in Florida. She was 63.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” read a statement from Cara's publicist Judith A. Moose. “She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”

A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Canada's Deborah Cox remembered Cara in a tweet as "one of my biggest inspirations growing up."

Born Irene Cara Escalera in New York City, taught herself to play piano as a child and studied music, acting and dance. She started performing and recording music at an early age, mostly in Spanish.

Cara worked on stage before her breakthrough role as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 film Fame, for which she sang the title song as well as “Out Here on My Own.” (“Fame” won songwriters Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford an Oscar for Best Original Song.) Cara was nominated for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the Grammys.

Cara co-wrote and recorded “Flashdance… What a Feeling” for 1983’s Flashdance, earning her the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Original Song, a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and American Music Awards for Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year.

Cara released three solo studio albums as well as the 2011 album Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel.

"We were working on amazing projects that would have made her and her fans incredibly happy," Cara's publicist tweeted. "Her manager and I will finish them. She'd want that."

I started in the industry as a child … and I did a lot of work as a 5 year old, 6 year old, 8 year old, 11 year old. I did my first movie at 14,” she recalled in a 2011 interview. “I started my entire career as a child and then into my teens. And then, you know, Fame and Flashdance were pretty much the end of an era for me. Pretty much the highlight of a 20 year career for me.”

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