Irene Cara: Gone Too Soon But She Will "Live Forever"

Herbie J Pilato

Irene CaraPhoto byThe Classic TV Preservation Society

She was a vibrant talent of the "Big '80s," and indeed a charismatic voice of a generation.

According to Yahoo! News, NBC News, and various other media outlets, Irene Cara, the Academy-Award-winning musician best known for performing the title songs to feature films like Fame (1980) and Flashdance (1983), has passed away. She was only 63 years old.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” her publicist Judith A. Moose said in a statement posted to Cara’s website and Twitter feed.

The Oscar-winning actress, singer, songwriter, and producer died in her Florida home. "Her cause of death," Moose said, " currently unknown and will be released when information is available."

Moose also revealed that releasing the news was “absolutely the worst part of being a publicist,” adding, “I can’t believe I’ve had to write this, let alone release the news.”

“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films,” Moose added.

A super-talent with an impressive musical range, Cara received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as Coco Hernandez in Fame, which was followed by the TV show of the same name, which debuted on NBC in early 1982. That show, which now had Erica Gimpel portraying Coco, later ran in first-run syndication. And that was one of the first TV programs to do so in the 1980s, along with programs like The New Gidget, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

She later performed and co-wrote “Flashdance… What A Feeling” for the soundtrack of the mega-hit feature film Flashdance, which eventually made a star out of Jennifer Beals, who played an aspiring dancer.

“Flashdance… What A Feeling” won for Best Original Song at the 1984 Academy Awards.

That year's Oscars host, Johnny Carson, turned over the podium to presenters Beals and Matthew Broderick who then revealed the winner's name. “There aren’t enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscars audience, thanking her parents, collaborators, and teachers.

“And last but not least, a very special gentlemen who I guess started it all for me many years ago. To (Fame director) Alan Parker, wherever you may be tonight, I thank him.”

Cara was back on the Oscars stage in 1986, performing "Here's to the Losers," in a moving tribute to the greatest movies that didn't win for Best Picture.

Cara won two Grammy awards for the song, Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or A Television Special, which she shared with other composers, and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

She later appeared in films such as D.C. Cab (with Mr. T and Gary Busey in 1983) and City Heat (starring Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in 1984) and various television shows. She also performed in live theater and musicals.

The title song from Fame included the lyrics, "I'm gonna' live forever."

Assuredly, in the hearts and minds of Cara's countless fans, she will do just that.

[Portions of this article were originally published on]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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