Academy-Award winner Irene Cara, who launched to superstardom as a singer and actress during the 80s, has passed away, reports CNN. She was 63.
Judith A. Moose, her long-time publicist, confirmed on Twitter that she passed away at her home in Florida on Saturday. No cause of death was given.
"It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara," Moose wrote. "The Academy Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, and producer passed away in her Florida home."
"Irene's family has requested privacy as they process their grief," the post continued. "She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films."
Irene Cara Escalera was born on March 18, 1959, in the Bronx. By the time she was five years old, she could play the piano by ear. She attended the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, where she cultivated her talents.
Cara was a singer and dancer on Spanish-language television; and at 13, she was a regular on the iconic children's show The Electric Company. She was also a member of its band, the Short Circus.
In film, she landed roles in Aaron Loves Angela, D.C. Cab and the classic Sparkle.
Cara's breakthrough success came when she played Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical film Fame, which follows several art students' entrance into New York’s High School for the Performing Arts. She had a hit record with that film’s title track, and another with the ballad “Out Here on My Own.” She garnered critical acclaim for her performances receiving a Golden Globe nod and two Grammys nominations.
In 1984, she won the Oscar for Best Original Song as co-writer of “Flashdance … What a Feeling,” the title song from Flashdance, which she also sang. She also took home a Grammy Award in 1984 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
Cara continued to act and make music well into the 1990s when she was in a legal dispute with her record label for back royalties. Winning her lawsuit, she was awarded $1.5 million by a California jury in 1993. In the aftermath of her victory, Cara said she was “virtually blacklisted by the music industry because of her case, reported People magazine.
On Broadway, she toured in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar as Mary Magdalene in the mid-1990s and on the musical Flashdance from 2012-14 with her songs. She also created the all-female band Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel and released a double CD featuring the single "How Can I Make You Luv Me."
Recently, she shared songs from her discography along with some unreleased material on her podcast, The Back Story.
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Irene Cara.