Irene Cara was a singer and actress from the United States. In 1980, Cara became well-known for playing Coco Hernandez in the musical film Fame and for recording the title song “Fame,” which went to number one in many countries.
In 1983, Cara sang and co-wrote the song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from the movie Flashdance. For this song, she won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1984.
Before she became famous with Fame, Cara played Sparkle Williams in the first version of the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
Early Years and Education
Irene Cara Escalera was born in The Bronx, New York City, on March 18, 1959. She was the fifth and last of five children.
Her father, a factory worker and retired saxophone named Gaspar Cara was Puerto Rican, and her mother, a movie theatre usher named Louise Escalera, was Cuban. Cara had two brothers and two sisters.
Irene Cara was one of five contestants in the “Little Miss America” competition at the age of three. She started playing the piano by ear, studied music, acting, and dance seriously, and started taking dancing lessons at age five.
Her performing career began when she sang and danced professionally on Spanish-language TV. She had her first television performances singing in Spanish on The Original Amateur Hour and Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show.
As a member of the show’s band, The Short Circus, she appeared frequently on the PBS educational program The Electric Company in 1971 and 1972.
As a child, Cara made a Christmas album in English and a record in Spanish for the Latin market. She also participated in a large Duke Ellington tribute event alongside Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr., and Roberta Flack.
In New York City, Cara attended the Professional Children’s School.
Irene Cara’s Net Worth
Irene Cara Had an Estimated Net Worth of $2 Million at The Time of Her Death on November 25, 2022 (Source: Celebrity Net Worth).
Irene’s Album “what a Feelin'” from 1983 Had the Song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” on It. by The Middle of 1984, Her Record Company, Network Records, Had only Given Her $183 in Royalties. Over the Next Few Months, Network Paid Her About $60,000.
However, in 1985, Cara Sued the Record Company for $10 Million in Punitive Damages, Saying that Al Coury, an Executive at Network Records, Had Kept $2 Million from Deals Involving “Flashdance… What a Feeling.”
Irene Noticed a Change in How People in The Entertainment Business Treated Her After She Filed the Lawsuit. She Thought This Was Because Coury Had Started a Campaign to Get Her Bad Name out There. in 1993, a Judge in Los Angeles Said that Cara’s Career Had Been Hurt, so He Gave Her $1.5 Million.
Irene Has Been in Off-Broadway Productions of The Musicals “Ain’t Misbehavin‘” (1978), “The Wiz” (1980), and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1993). in 1970, She Played Daisy Allen on The CBS Soap Opera “Love of Life.” She Was in The 1975 Movie “Aaron Loves Angela” and The 1976 Movie “Apple Pie.” in The 1976 Musical Drama “Sparkle,” She Played the Title Role.
Cara Was a Guest Star on “Kojak” in 1976 and “what’s Happening!!” in 1977. in The 1979 Miniseries “roots: The Next Generations,” in Which She Played Bertha Palmer Haley, She Won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Limited Series.
“John Willis’ Screen World, Vol. 28” Called Her One of The “Promising New Actors of 1976,” and The Readers of “Right On!” Magazine Voted Her the Best Actress of The Year. Irene Played Coco Hernandez in The 1980 Movie “Fame.” She Sang the Songs “Fame” and “Out Here on My Own” in The Movie.
The People Who Wrote Both Songs Were Nominated for An Academy Award for Best Original Song, but “Fame” Won the Award. “Fame” Was Certified Gold in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands, and It Was #1 on The “billboard” Dance Club Songs Chart and #1 in Five Other Countries.
The “Billboard” Hot 100 Chart Put “Out Here on My Own” at Number 19. “billboard” Named Cara the Top New Single Artist, and “cashbox” Named Her the Top Female Vocalist and Most Promising Female Vocalist.
Irene’s Filmography in The 1980s Includes Killing ’em Softly (1982), Sister, Sister (1982), D.C. Cab (1983), City Heat (1984), Certain Fury (1985), Busted up (1986), and Caged in Paradiso (1988).
She Also Made Appearances in The Tv Movies “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones” (1980) and “For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story” (1983). (1989). Anyone Can See, Her First Album, Debuted at #76 on The “Billboard” 200 and #39 on The “Billboard” Top R&b/hip-Hop Albums Charts when It Was Released in 1982.
Irene’s Biggest Hit Was “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” Released in 1983. the Song Was Awarded 2 Platinum in Canada, Platinum in France, and Gold in The United States, Denmark, and Italy. Cara Won an Oscar, a Grammy, and A Golden Globe Thanks to The Success of “Shallow,” Which Hit Number One on The Charts in More than A Dozen Countries.
As of 2018, “Flashdance… What a Feeling” Ranked #55 on “AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Songs,” #256 on The Riaa’s “songs of The Century,” and #26 on “the ‘billboard’ Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.”
Irene’s Third Album, “Carasmatic,” Came out On Elektra Records in 1987. After That, She Appeared in “Gabriel’s Fire” (1991) and “hearts Are Wild” (1992) as A Guest Star, and She Also Hosted the Short Documentary “Beyond Awareness to Action: Ending Abuse of Women” (1995).
In 2004, She Had a Cameo in The Movie “Downtown: A Street Tale.” the Next Year, She Competed on The NBC Show “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time” and Won the Third Round After Singing “Flashdance… What a Feeling” and A Cover of Anastacia’s “I’m Outta Love” (which She Performed with Hot Caramel, Her All-Female Band).
In 2006, Her Song “Forever My Love” Was on The Compilation Album “gay Happening Vol. 12.” Her Fourth Album, “Irene Cara Presents Hot Caramel,” Came out In 2011.
Irene Got Married to Actor, Film Director, and Stuntman Conrad Palmisano on April 13, 1986, in Los Angeles. Five Years Later, They Got a Divorce. Cara Was in “busted Up,” Which Was Made by Palmisano in 1986, and “space Rage,” Which Was Made by Conrad in 1985, Was a Sci-Fi Western.
Irene Cara Died on November 25, 2022, at the age of 63, at her home in Florida.