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Irene Cara –

cara About Irene Cara (1959 – )

Irene Cara was born on March 18, 1959, in New York, New York, to parents Gaspar and Louise Cara. She was one of five children; two sisters and two brothers.

Irene Cara Escalera is Irene Cara's birth name.

Getting started in the business at the age of five, Irene Cara debuted on stage in MAGGIE FLYNN, a Jack Cassidy-Shirley Jones Broadway musical.

Irene recorded her first album at the age of eight years, that was sung in Spanish. She also sang a Christmas song in English for a LP.

At the tender age of ten, she performed alongside Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr. and Roberta Flack in a major concert tribute to Duke Ellington.

Irene graduated from Professional Children's School in Manhattan, the rival school of Laguardia High School of Music & Art.

On the hit TV series;( for 1970) Irene Cara played Daisy Allen on LOVE OF LIFE.

Starting in 1971-1972, Irene Cara was on her first TV series, playing Iris on the hit PBS series, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY. She was in 130 episodes. The series was a great educational program, teaching music and grammar. THE ELECTRIC COMPANY was a great start for Irene Cara as the series also starred Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, and Morgan Freeman.

Usually a debut role is a small role but not for Irene Cara. Her first role was playing the lead in 1975 film, ARRON LOVES ANGELA. This was followed by the hit 1976 film, SPARKLE, where Irene was also the female lead.

In 1976, Irene Cara was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors in John Willis Screen World, Vol. 28.

Playing Coco Hernandez is the role that brought Irene Cara fame and attention world wide, and opened up the doors to an acting and singing career. The role was for a hit movie musical of the 80's, FAME, that told the stories of students who were attending New York City's Laguardia High School of Music & Art.  This was a film that got kids and adults up and motivated to dream and get involved, and brought a boatload of honor to Irene Cara.

Not only did Irene do a great job acting, but Irene Cara has a great voice and it was heard loud and clear in movie's hit songs: the title song; Fame, and the movie's second biggest hit single; Out Here On My Own. Both songs were nominated for the Best Song Academy Award.

At the American Music Awards she took home Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year.

The success of FAME brought Irene Cara an 1980 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocalist, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical.

In 1984, Irene Cara won a Best Music, Original Song Academy Award Oscar, for the song that she sang and co-wrote in the movie, FLASHDANCE; 1983, "OH WHAT A FEELING." She shared the Oscar with co-writer Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, who wrote the lyrics. She also won a Golden Globe for her performance in singing this same song in this film. Plus, they all shared a GRAMMY AWARD for Best Album of Original Score for Motion Picture.

Also in 1984, Irene won an NMPA Award (National Music Publisher's Assoc. Awards, for singing the song, "What A Feeling," in the film, FLASHDANCE.

Her music career took off right after FLASHDANCE. She released three albums. Her business associates/managers turned out to be jerks, and only paid her 183.00 for her work in FLASHDANCE. This resulted in no more of her albums being released, because of the lawsuit, which retarded her singing career in America. She eventually was awarded 1.5 million dollars when the suit was settled in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, Irene went to Europe in the 1990s, because she was well-loved there with a huge fan base. There she continued to write songs and release various dance songs.

In July 2001, an announcement that shocked no one came out that Irene Cara was making her own all-girl band called Hot Caramel.

Irene Cara's notable movie credits include...

BUSTED UP (1986)
CITY HEAT (1984)
FAME (1980)
APPLE PIE (1976)
SPARKLE (1976)



Irene Cara in CITY HEAT (1984)