RIP: Irene Cara

Irene Cara passed away yesterday at the age of 63.  No cause of death was given.

Irene Cara was an actress, singer and song writer.  Although her performance in Fame made her a household name, Ms. Cara had been a performer since she was a little girl.  When she was three years old she was one of five finalists for the “Little Miss America” pageant.  She studied music and dance.  While still a child she performed on The Original Amateur Hour, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and became a regular on PBS’ The Electric Company.

Irene Cara would go on to appear on stage in Broadway productions (and some off-Broadway plays as well).  She became a regular cast member of Love of Life.  This was followed by starring roles in the feature films  Aaron Loves Angela and Sparkle.  Television called and Irene Cara made guest appearances on Kojak and What’s Happening!!.  Next came roles in Roots: The Next Generation and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.

Irene Cara became an international superstar with her role in Fame.  Ms. Cara was originally cast as a dancer, but her role was re-written once producers heard her voice.  Irene Cara sang the title song, Fame as well as the movie’s other single, Out Here on My Own.  In addition to the singles and soundtrack selling in the millions, both songs were nominated for an Academy Award.  Irene Cara became one of the few singers to perform more than one song at an Oscar ceremony.

Based on her performance in Fame, Iren Cara received Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  She also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical. She was crowned Billboard’s Top New Single Artist, Cashbox Magazine’s Most Promising Female Vocalist and Top Female Vocalist.  When a Fame television show was announced, Irene Cara was offered the opportunity to reprise her role, but declined.

In 1983, she co-wrote (with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey) and sang the title song for the movie Flashdance“Flashdance… What a Feeling” would go on to become another multi-million seller as well as winner of  the Academy Award for Best Song.  For her performance Irene Cara won the 1984 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, the 1984 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and American Music Awards for Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year.

Irene Cara would continue singing and acting for the rest of her career.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Iren Cara’s family, friends and fans.