Irene Cara Dies: ‘Fame’ Singer and Actress Was 63

Irene Cara in Fame (Credit: United Artists/MGM)

Irene Cara, an Academy Award-winning singer who performed the theme songs for Fame and Flashdance, has died. She was 63.

Cara’s publicist, Judith A. Moose of JM Media, confirmed her death in a statement on the singer’s official Twitter account early Saturday morning.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” the statement read. “The Academy Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer passed away in her Florida home.”

The post went on to say the singer’s cause of death is “currently unknown” and will be released once the information becomes available. The publicist also noted that a public memorial will be announced later.

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Irene Cara was born in New York City in 1959. Her father was a Puerto Rican saxophonist and her mother was a Cuban-American movie theater usher.

Young Irene began singing at an early age. She won music competitions and became a regular on thr PBS educational program, The Electric Company.

She rose to international stardom after landing a role in the 1980 film Fame. The singer was cast in the role of Coco Hernandez and performed the theme song “Fame.”

The actress, singer and songwriter also had a starring role in the movie-musical Sparkle (1972), the TV miniseries Roots: The Next Generations (1979) and she had her own sitcom on NBC in 1981 titled Irene.

Cara performed and co-wrote the theme song for the film Flashdance (1983) titled “Flashdance… What a Feeling.”

The chart-topping single earned her an Oscar for Best Original Song,  a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and American Music Awards for Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year.