Fame and Flashdance singer-actress Irene Cara dies aged 63

Irene Cara was found dead at her home in Florida on Friday. PHOTO: ALCHETRON

WASHINGTON – Irene Cara, an Oscar-winning singer and actress who recorded the title tracks to the blockbuster 1980s movies Fame and Flashdance, has died at age 63, her publicist said on Saturday.

Cara was found dead at her home in Florida last Friday, publicist Judith Moose told AFP, adding that the cause of death was unknown at this point.

“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films,” Ms Moose said earlier in a written statement.

Cara is well-known for singing the title track of the smash 1980s film Fame, with its indelible refrain “I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly”. It follows the triumphs and tribulations of students at a performing arts high school in New York.

In the movie, she played Coco Hernandez, a role written for her after she was initially cast as a dancer. Cara’s work earned her Grammy award nominations for best new artist and best female pop artist.

Cara also co-wrote and performed the smash hit Flashdance... What A Feeling for the 1983 movie of the same name, depicting the life of an aspiring dancer played by Jennifer Beals.

The tune earned Cara an Oscar for best original song in 1984 and two Grammys.

Cara was trained as a child in music, dance and singing, and appeared on stage and in television, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson – at the time, a huge step to becoming someone in show business in America – at a young age in the 1970s.

“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,” Ms Moose wrote.

“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,” she added.

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Later in her career, Cara appeared in films such as DC Cab (1983) and City Heat (1984), and on various television shows. She also performed in theatre and musicals.

Tributes to Cara poured in on social media, with many fans reminiscing about their younger selves back when Fame first came out.

“On behalf of every 1980s teenager who donned their leotard and legwarmers, danced to Fame in front of the mirror and dreamed of one day enrolling at the High School of Performing Arts... thank you, Irene Cara. May you rest in peace,” wrote a woman named Jo Lake. AFP

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