Oscar-winning singer and actor Irene Cara has passed away, according to her publicist Judith A. Moose.
Moose released a statement about her passing: “It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara. The Academy Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, and producer passed away in her Florida home. Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when information is available. 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. Funeral services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date.”
Cara rose to stardom in 1980 after starring as Coco Hernandez and singing the title tracks for the film “Fame,” which Alan Parker directed. She also sang “Out Here on My Own,” the other hit song from the movie.
She made history at the Oscars because it was the first time two songs from the same film got nominated in the same category, and both got sung by the same artist.
Three years later, she shattered all her previous accomplishments in her music career with the title song for the movie Flashdance: “Flashdance… What a Feeling”, which she co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey. Cara penned the lyrics to the song with Keith Forsey while riding in a car in New York heading to the studio to record it; Moroder composed the music. She admitted later that she was initially reluctant to work with Giorgio Moroder because she had no wish to invite further comparisons with another artist who worked with Moroder, Donna Summer.
The collaboration paid off and became a hit in several countries, attracting several awards for Cara. She won the 1983 Academy Award for Best Song(Oscar), 1984 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, 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.
Cara’s Oscar win made her the first Afro-Latina woman to win an Oscar in a category other than an acting category, as well as the second to be nominated outside of the acting categories at the prestigious award show.
Some of Irene Cara’s credits include starring alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in the comedic thriller “City Heat,” in which she sang “Embraceable You” and “Get Happy.” She starred in “Certain Fury” alongside Tatum O’Neal.
Cara got involved in a lot of voice acting in the 1990s. She voiced Snow White in “Happily Ever After,” John Howley directed.