Award winning actress and singer Irena Cara died November 25, 2022 in her New Port Richey home at the age of 63.  An official cause of death was not given.

Cara was best known for her award winning performances of the theme songs form the films “Flashdance” and “Fame”.  While Cara played the role of Coco Hernandez in the film, Erica Gimpel took over the role as Coco for the television series.  Cara also sang on other songs in the movie soundtrack.

The New York native began her acting career as a child on Spanish speaking television programs and then moved to Broadway in the original musical “Maggie Flynn”.  She also appeared in “The Me Nobody Knows”, “Via Galactica”, and “Got Tu GO Disco”; as well as, the touring productions of “Flashdance the Musical” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Mary Magdalene.

Cara made her television debut on the series “Love of Life” when she was 10 years old.  Her other television and film appearances include 130 episodes of “The Electric Company”, an episode of “Kojak”,the TV series “What’s Happening”, as Bertha Palmer Haley in the television mini-series “Roots: The Next Generation”, the movie “Fame”, “D.C. Cab” and numerous music videos.  As herself, she appeared in dozens of productions including documentaries, game shows, award shows, variety, and talk shows.

Cara’s music has been heard in over 100 film and television productions including “Sparkle”, “Fame”, “Flashdance”, “Busted Up”, “All Dogs Go to Heaven”, “F.C. De Kampioenen”, “Ally McBeal”, “King of the Hill”, “Six Feet Under”, “Body Electric”, “Saturday Night Live”, and a number of competition reality programs.

Her performance of the theme song for ‘Flashdance” earned her a Grammy, Oscar, and a Golden Globe Award.  Cara also has a second Grammy Award, a People’s Choice Award, a Latino Playwrights Award, a : Nosotros – Latin America Performer of the Year from the Golden Eagle Awards, American Music Awards, and an NAACP Image Award.

Irene Cara Escalera was born on March 18, 1959 in the Bronx; the youngest of five children born to a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban-American mother.

Married and divorced, Cara had no children and a list of survivors was not given.

feature photo credit: Irene Cara’s Facebook page