“Flashdance” Co-Writer and Singer Irene Cara Dies at 63

Co-writer and singer of the iconic “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from the 1983 hit romantic dance drama Flashdance, Irene Cara, has died. She was 63. Cara was found dead in her home in Miami, Florida on Nov. 25, according to her publicist. Her cause of death is unknown at this time.

Videos by American Songwriter

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” read a statement posted on Cara’s social media pages by her publicist Judith A. Moose. “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.”

Moose added, “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. 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.”

Born Irene Cara Escalera in Bronx, New York on March 18, 1959, Cara started performing at the age of 5, singing and dancing on Spanish television and performing with her father Gaspar Cara’s mambo band. Cara later starred in the children’s television show The Electric Company from 1971 through 1972 and even on an episode of Kojak and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson before landing her breakout role as dancer Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical Fame. Cara performed the title song for the film along with the Lesley Gore-penned “Out Here on My Own,” which was also released as a single from the movie.

Following her hit run on Fame, which also earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, Cara went on to work on Flashdance, performing the title song and co-writing it with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey. “Flashdance…What a Feeling” stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and earned Cara a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1984.

Throughout her career, Cara also worked as a backup singer for Lou Reed, Vicki Sue Robinson, Oleta Adams, George Duke, and more and continued acting in film and television into the 2000s, also starring in the second season of the CMT reality show Gone Country.

In 2011, Cara released the Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel, a debut from her longtime band Hot Caramel and hosted the podcast The Back Story in 2019 and 2020, where he shared stories behind some of the classic songs she worked on throughout her career.

Funeral services are pending, according to Cara’s publicist, and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date.

Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Smashing Pumpkins Announce Co-Headlining The World Is a Vampire Festival with Interpol