West News Wire: Irene Cara, a singer-actress who starred in and sang the title track from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and later sung the era-defining hit “Flashdance. What a Feeling” from 1983’s “Flashdance,” has passed away. She was an Oscar, Golden Globe, and two-time Grammy winner. She was 63.

The news was shared on social media by Judith A. Moose, her publicist, who stated that the cause of death was “currently unknown.” The death was also verified by Moose to a reporter for the Associated Press on Saturday. Cara passed away in her Florida home. Her death date, specifically, was not made public.

Irene’s family has asked for privacy as they deal with their bereavement, according to Moose. She was a stunningly talented person whose films and songs will live on forever.

During her career, Cara had three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Breakdance,” “Out Here On My Own,” “Fame” and “Flashdance. What A Feeling,” which spent six weeks at No. 1. She was behind some of the most joyful, high-energy pop anthems of the early ’80s.

Tributes poured in on Saturday on social media, including from Deborah Cox, who called Cara an inspiration, and Holly Robinson Peete, who recalled seeing Cara perform: “The insane combination of talent and beauty was overwhelming to me. This hurts my heart so much.”

She first came to prominence among the young actors playing performing arts high schoolers in Alan Parker’s “Fame,” with co-stars Debbie Allen, Paul McCrane and Anne Meara. Cara played Coco Hernandez, a striving dancer who endures all manner of deprivations, including a creepy nude photo shoot.

“How bright our spirits go shooting out into space, depends on how much we contributed to the earthly brilliance of this world. And I mean to be a major contributor!” she says in the movie.

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Cara sang on the soaring title song with the chorus “Remember my name/I’m gonna live forever/I’m gonna learn how to fly/I feel it coming together/People will see me and cry” which would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for best original song. She also sang on “Out Here on My Own,” “Hot Lunch Jam” and “I Sing the Body Electric.”

Allen took to Twitter Saturday to mourn, posting pictures of them together and calling Cara a “a gifted and beautiful genius. Her talent and her music will live forever! Forever remember her name!”

Three years later, she and the songwriting team of “Flashdance” music by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Keith Forsey and Cara was accepting the Oscar for best original song for “Flashdance. What a Feeling.”

The movie starred Jennifer Beals as a steel-town girl who dances in a bar at night and hopes to attend a prestigious dance conservatory. It included the hit song “Maniac,” featuring Beals’ character leaping, spinning, stomping her feet and the slow-burning theme song.

“There aren’t enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscar crowd in her thanks. “And last but not least, a very special gentlemen who I guess started it all for me many years ago. To Alan Parker, wherever you may be tonight, I thank him.”

The New York-born Cara began her career on Broadway, with small parts in short-lived shows, although a musical called “The Me Nobody Knows” ran over 300 performances. She toured in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and a tour of the musical ”Flashdance” toured 2012-14 with her songs.

She also created the all-female band Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel and put out a double CD with the single “How Can I Make You Luv Me.” Her movie credits include ”Sparkle” and “D.C. Cab.”


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