Irene Cara, ’80s pop star behind ‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ theme songs, dies at 63
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Tributes are flowing for Irene Cara, best known for singing the theme songs for Fame and Flashdanceafter she died in her Florida home aged 63.
The news was announced in a statement from the Academy Award winner’s publicist made on behalf of the singer’s family.
“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,” Judith Moose said in a tweet announcing the singer’s death.
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“Please share your thoughts and memories of Irene. I’ll be reading each and every one of them and know she’ll be smiling from Heaven. She adored her fans.”
Cara’s cause of death is unknown, according to Moose’s statement.
Cara is most famously known for her songs from the 1983 film Flashdance.
The film’s title song, Flashdance…What a Feeling won both an Oscar and Golden Globe award for Best Original Song, and earned Cara a Grammy award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Jennifer Beals, who played the starring role in Flashdanceis among the celebrities who have paid tribute to Cara since the news of her death.
”Thank you brilliant Irene for your open heart and your fearless triple threat talent,” Beals wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of them at the 1984 Academy Awards.
“It took a beautiful dreamer to write and perform the soundtracks for those who dare to dream.”
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Cara is also known for starring as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 film Famewhich in turn catapulted her to fame.
She made history with the two sings she recorded for the film, Fame and Out Here on My Ownwhich not only helped the film’s soundtrack chart the tops, but it was also the first time that two songs from the same film and sung by the same artist were nominated in the same category at the Academy Awards that year.
Fame went on to win the award that year, and Cara earned Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical.
Many fans on Twitter are reeling from the loss of such a star, with one fan asking in disbelief if the news was true, to which Moose replied through Cara’s account, “Unfortunately, yes. Her business manager and I were notified a few hours ago. I’m her publicist.
“Believe me, I wish it weren’t true. We were working on amazing projects that would have made her and her fans incredibly happy. Her manager and I will finish them. She’d want that.”
Many celebrities have offered their condolences for the bright singer.
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Lenny Kravitz wrote, “Irene Cara, you inspired me more than you could ever know. Your songwriting and vocals created pure energy that will never cease. You also defined an era that is so close to my heart.”
“My Heart Is Broken. #IreneCara was such a gifted and beautiful genius. Her talent and her music will LIVE FOREVER! FOREVER REMEMBER HER NAME! #FAME,” tweeted actress Debbie Allen.
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“Irene Cara lit it up, and I was obsessed. ‘What a Feeling’ took over the world when Flashdance came out. ‘Fame’ did the same. But the one song of hers that I loved more than all of them was her solo piano ballad in Fame, ‘Out Here On My Own’. Still hits me so hard,” Actor George Hahn wrote of Cara’s musical talent.
“She was one of the reasons I am here today! She made me believe if you were Latin you could make it! She fueled my community. She will be missed! Rest in power!” said actor John Leguizamo.
“Irene Cara. Gloriously powerful award winning singer/songwriter. Her gifts empowered. Her songs fueled coming of age years. My fave memory is a childhood one: seeing people of color in a love story for the 1st time: Aaron Loves Angela. Her NY light will shine in this NYer,” posted actress Kim Fields.
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“Rest In Peace beautiful Irene Cara one of my biggest inspirations growing up,” said Canadian singer-songwriter Deborah Cox.
“RIP Irene Cara! Such an amazing talent and sweet soul. Thanks for the music. Sing with the angels,” wrote country singer Stella Parton.
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