Fame and Flashdance singer and actor Irene Cara dies aged 63

The Guardian
The Guardian
Irene Cara as Coco in 1980's Fame. Photograph: Mgm/Allstar

Irene Cara, best known for singing the title songs to the films Fame and Flashdance, has died aged 63.

Cara appeared as the main character Coco Hernandez in Fame, which was released in 1980. It told the story of students at the High School of Performing Arts in New York, taking them from their first auditions to their senior year.

In the film she was shown singing Fame as she walked through New York’s streets, and sat on top of one of its famous yellow taxis. She had originally been cast as a dancer, before the role of Hernandez was written for her.

Three years later, she co-wrote Flashdance … What a Feeling for Flashdance, for which she won an Oscar for best original song and two Grammy awards for original score for a motion picture and best female pop vocal performance.

Both songs were top 10 hits in the UK and US. Flashdance … What a Feeling, which was reused in TV, film and advertising, was later re-recorded for its appearance in 1997 film The Full Monty.

Related: The power of music in John Hughes films: ‘When you hear those songs you see those moments’

Cara was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for Fame, and won gongs from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), including for her part in 1982 film Sister Sister. She had started her career as a child actor and singer, appearing on the Johnny Carson show in the 1970s, and in a tribute concert to Jazz icon Duke Ellington.

Her publicist Judith Moose announced the news in a statement released on Cara’s official Twitter account on Saturday morning, saying she had died at her home in Florida.

She said: “This is the absolute worst part of being a publicist. I can’t believe I’ve had to write this, let alone release the news.

“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”

Her cause of death is currently unknown, and will be released when it has been confirmed, Moose said. Her family have asked for privacy, and funeral and memorial services will be planned at a later date.

Comments / 18

Trish Trish

I remember Irene. She was very beautiful and talented. So sorry to hear of her passing so relatively young. 🙏🏾

Alice Yeager

💔What a beautifully talented lady, who still had so much more to offer, and so young. May she rest in peace🌹🕊

REPENT people

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!Psalm 14:1-7


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