NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar, Golden Globe, and two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-actress Irene Cara starred in and sang the title song to the hit 1980 film “Fame” and later sang the defining hit. It was “Flashdancing”. What a Feeling” from 1983’s “Flashdance” is dead. She was 63 years old.
His publicist, Judith A. Moose, announced the news on social media, writing that the cause of death was “currently unknown.” Moose also confirmed the death to an Associated Press reporter on Saturday. Cara died at her home in Florida. The exact day of her death was not revealed.
“Irene’s family has requested privacy while they process their grief,” Moose wrote. “She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live on forever through her music and her films.”
During her career, Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Breakdance,” “Fame,” and “Flashdance… What A Feeling,” which spent six weeks at No. 1. She was behind some of the top 10 hits. the most upbeat and energetic pop anthems of the early ’80s, including “Out Here On My Own” and “Why Me?”
Tributes poured in on social media Saturday, including from Deborah Cox, who called Cara an inspiration, and Holly Robinson Peete, who recalled seeing Cara perform: “The crazy combination of talent and beauty was overwhelming to me. This hurts my heart so much.”
He first rose to fame among young actors playing high school performing arts students in Alan Parker’s “Fame,” with his co-stars Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane and Anne Meara. Cara played Coco Hernández, a hard-working dancer who endures all kinds of hardships, including a grisly nude photo shoot.
“How brightly our spirits soar into space depends on how much we contribute to the earthly brilliance of this world. And I intend to be a major contributor!” she says in the movie.
Cara sang on the title song with the refrain: “Remember my name/I’m gonna live forever/I’m gonna learn to fly/I feel it coming together/People will see me and cry”, which would go on to be nominated for an Award for the Academy for best original song. She also sang on “Out Here on My Own”, “Hot Lunch Jam” and “I Sing the Body Electric”.
Allen took to Twitter on Saturday to cry, posting photos of them together and calling Cara “a beautiful, talented genius. His talent of hers and her music will live on forever! Always remember her name!”
Lenny Kravitz addressed Cara in a tweet: “You inspired me more than you could ever know. Your composition and voice created pure energy that will never cease. You also defined an era that is so close to my heart.” Stephanie Mills. who co-starred with Cara in “Maggie Flynn” on Broadway in 1968, wrote: “What an incredible talent and sweet person.”
Three years after her triumph with “Fame,” she and the writing team behind “Flashdance”—music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Keith Forsey and Cara—accepted the Best Original Song Oscar for “Flashdance…What a Feeling”. ”
The film starred Jennifer Beals as a girl from Steel Town who dances in a bar at night and hopes to attend a prestigious dance conservatory. It included the hit song “Maniac”, featuring Beals’ character jumping, spinning, stomping, and the slow-burning theme song.
“There are not enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscars crowd in her thanks. And last but not least, a very special gentleman who I believe started it all for me many years ago. To Alan Parker, wherever you are tonight, I thank you.”
Born in New York, Cara began her career on Broadway, with bit parts in short-lived shows, though a musical called “The Me Nobody Knows” ran for more than 300 performances. She toured in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and a tour of the musical “Flashdance” toured between 2012 and 2014 featuring her songs.
She also created the all-female band Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel and released a double CD single “How Can I Make You Luv Me.” Her film credits include “Sparkle” and “DC Cab.”
Associated Press writers Hillel Italie and Freida Frisaro contributed to this report.
Mark Kennedy is in http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits