Irene Cara died at 63

The Oscar and Grammy winner was behind some of the most iconic film soundtracks of the 1980s.

Irene Kara

© Warner Bros./Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Irene Cara, the Oscar-winning singer and actress best known for the theme songs to the films Flashdance and Fame, has died at the age of 63.

“It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of Irene Cara on behalf of her family,” said her publicist, Judith A. Moose wrote on the artist’s official Twitter account. “The Oscar-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer has died at her home in Florida. Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released as information becomes available. Irene’s family has asked for privacy as they process their grief. She was a wonderfully gifted soul whose legacy will live on forever through her music and films. Funerals are pending and a memorial to her fans is planned at a later date.”

Born in the Bronx in 1959, Cara began studying singing and dancing at an early age and found early success performing in Broadway musicals. Her first starring role came in the 1976 musical film Sparkle, but her real breakthrough came when she was cast as Coco Hernandez in Fame. She performed two songs on the film’s soundtrack, “Fame” and “Out Here on My Own,” both of which were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The double nomination allowed her to make history as one of the few musicians to perform multiple songs on the same Oscar show. She was also nominated for two Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe for her work on the film.

Cara followed the success of “Fame” with another outstanding film soundtrack performance. She co-wrote and performed “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” the title track of Adrian Lyne’s 1983 dance film Flashdance. This song became a smash hit, earning Cara an Oscar for Best Song and a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

Cara continued acting into the 1980s, notably starring opposite Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in the 1984 comedy City Heat. She continued to record and perform live throughout her life. Her last album, Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel, was released in 2011.

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Lindsay Lowe

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