Oscar-Winning Singer and Actress Irene Cara Died at Age 63

Irene Cara, an actress and pop star who won an Oscar and a Grammy for the hit song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from the movie Flashdance and had memorable moments in movies like Sparkle and Fame, has died, her rep says. She was 63.

Cara died in her Florida home, according to Judith Moose, who posted the death on Twitter on Friday night. Saturday, Moose told The Hollywood Reporter that the cause of death hasn’t been found yet.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Moose wrote in the statement. “Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief. She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”

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Cara was an unusual performer who was at the top of the pop charts and also did great work as an actress. She won her Oscar for the 1983 hit “Flashdance… What a Feeling” and also sang the title track for the seminal 1980 movie Fame.

She was also in the musical Fame, which was about the struggles of high school students at a school for the performing arts. Cara, who played Coco Hernandez, sang the hit singles “Fame” and “Out Here on My Own.” Both were nominated for an Oscar for best original song, but only “Fame” won. Because of how well the songs did, Cara was nominated for two Grammys in 1980. She was up for best new artist and best female pop vocal performance.

One of her most famous roles was in the 1976 movie Sparkle, which was about three singing sisters whose family ties are broken as they try to become famous.

Cara was born in New York City on March 18, 1959. She started singing and dancing when she was young and made early appearances on shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She was a regular on the PBS show The Electric Company in the early 1970s and played in the show’s band. She also played parts in plays on Broadway, such as The Me Nobody Knows in 1970 and Via Galactica in 1972, both of which were with Raul Julia.

Cara went on to play Daisy Allen in the first episode of the CBS daytime soap opera Love of Life. She followed this with the films Aaron Loves Angela (1975) and Sparkle (1976), along with roles in the television miniseries Roots: The Next Generations (1979) and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980).

After her big break in Fame, Cara kept working on stage. In 1980, she played Dorothy in a touring production of The Wiz. In the 1984 movie City Heat, he played a role alongside Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.

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