Irene Cara, the actress, singer and Oscar-winning composer best known for crooning the title tracks to ‘80′s hit films “Fame” and “Flashdance,” has died in her Florida home. She was 63.
Cara’s publicist confirmed her death in a statement shared on the artist’s Twitter account early Saturday morning.
“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Judith Moose wrote. “The Academy Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer passed away in her Florida home.
“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.”
The cause of death is unknown, but information will be released when information is available, her rep said.
Cara, a New York native and youngest daughter of a Puerto Rican father and Cuban-American mother,, began her career as a child, acting, singing and dancing on Spanish television and New York theater shows, including a role in the Broadway rock musical “The Me Nobody Knows” in 1970.
She became a star and launched her singing career in 1980 playing high schooler Coco Hernandez in Alan Parker’s “Fame,” a comedy-drama with a lively music score about the competitive students at a Manhattan performing arts school.
Cara belted out the title track in the 1980 hit, 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.” Her performance in “Fame” earned her two Grammy nominations for best new artist and best pop vocal performance in 1981.
Two years later, she won an Oscar for best original song for “Flashdance … What a Feeling” off the soundtrack of the 1983 blockbuster “Flashdance.” She penned the lyrics alongside Keith Forsey while Giorgio Moroder wrote the music. The song was a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
“There aren’t enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscar crowd. “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.”
“Flashdance” also nabbed her two wins at the Grammys in 1984 — best pop vocal performance, female, and best album of an original score written for a motion picture or a television special.
Cara went on to tour in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and appeared in the musical “Flashdance” when it toured in 2012-14.