Academy Award-winning singer and actress Irene Cara was found dead inside her Florida home, but many fans have since refused to believe the news after a recent death hoax targeting the star. Cara, 63, singer of the hit ‘Flashdance… What A Feeling’ that earned her an Oscar in 1984, was confirmed to have passed away by her publicist, Judith Moose, on Saturday after midnight. The news of the singer’s passing was also confirmed by ABC 13.
The post came just after a death hoax about Cara, who starred in Fame and sang its theme, with many fans fearing the latest announcement may be part of another lie. ‘Sorry if this is true but I’m afraid after the hoax it’s difficult to believe,’ Twitter user Rachael L wrote in response to Moose. ‘On Friday (November 25) the actress’ reps officially confirmed that Irene Cara is not dead.
‘It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,’ Moose said in a statement. ‘Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when the information is available.’
‘She joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax,’ the previous announcement said. Moose, however, confirmed that Saturday’s announcement was real, adding that ‘We’re all in shock.’
The performer then rocketed to fame in 1980 playing Coco Hernandez in the hit musical Fame. She received two Grammy nominations for the musical and won Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Artist. Cara went on to win a Grammy and an Oscar in 1984 with the title track to Flashdance, which starred Jennifer Beals.
Born in the Bronx as Irene Escalera, Cara had humble roots – her mom Louise was a cashier, while her father Gaspar was a steel worker and musician. Cara inherited her father’s talent, becoming a trained singer, actor and dancer who made many on stage and television appearances as a child, including on PBS and Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show.
She fell out of the spotlight after suing her former record company during the 1990s over her earnings. That saw Cara awarded $1.5 million by a California jury in 1993. But she was shunned by the music industry as a result, and her career suffered.
When confirming Cara’s death, Moose wrote: ‘She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films.’ The publicist also expressed sympathy for the performer’s fans over the recent death hoax. The daughter of a Puerto Rican and Cuban-American, Cara did a stint of appearances on Spanish-language TV shows before becoming a regular on PBS’s educational program, The Electric Company.
‘None of us were ever contacted regarding the hoax on a Facebook page. I completely understand it being difficult to believe. We’re all in shock. The youngest of five children, Cara made her debut on stage at the young age of three, earning a spot as a finalist for the Little Miss America Pageant in 1962. Along with her television work, Cara performed on a slew of off-Broadway productions, and her first big role came as the titular Sparkle Williams in the 1976 musical drama film, Sparkle.
Prior to Fame, Cara also had a starring role in the 1979 sequel to the classic Roots TV miniseries. Although her stardom peaked in the 1980s, Cara continued to perform throughout the decades, appearing in films such as D.C. Cab, City Heat and Downtown, A Street Tale. Following confirmation of Cara’s death, fans of the iconic singer flooded social media to share their grief. Twitter user Jimmy Pavolic said he’s loved Cara’s singing since watching Fame as a child.
Journalist and Disney alumnus Steven McCoy wrote: ‘I first met Ms. Irene Cara many years ago, she was truly a beautiful, kind and spiritual woman. She even sent me a gift package to my home and still hold dear to my heart. You will be truly missed.’
‘So sad to hear the passing of Irene Cara, this song ever since I heard it as a 12-year-old has stuck with me, my sincerest condolences to his family, friends & fans. R.I.P Irene Cara.’ Another Twitter user with the handle Cromwell described Cara as the soundtrack of the 1980s.