A Fond Farewell To Irene Cara

A Fond Farewell To Irene Cara

I met Irene Cara, when I first got to New York City. We both loved musicals and she had boundless energy. I first heard about Irene when she appeared in The Me Nobody Knows. Before that she appeared on Broadway in Maggie Flynn opposite Shirley Jones and Jack CassidyLater in Via Galactica with Raúl Juliaand Got Tu Go Disco. Off-Broadway she appeared in Ain’t Misbehavin’. John Willis’ Screen World, Vol. 28, named her one of twelve “Promising New Actors of 1976.”

Irene was so excited when she was cast and rose to fame in the 1980 musical Fame, which she sang the title track for and starred as Coco Hernandez. Her performance in Fame earned her two Grammy nominations for best new artist and best pop vocal performance, female, at the 23rd annual Grammy Awards in 1981.

Cara also sang and co-wrote the song “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (from the film Flashdance), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
She started in TV as as a regular on PBS’s educational program The Electric Company as a member of the show’s band, The Short Circus. Cara was the original Daisy Allen on the 1970s daytime serial Love of Life. She later took on the role of Angela in the romance/thriller Aaron Loves Angela, followed by her portrayal of the title character in Sparkle. Later on she was in the award winning Roots: The Next GenerationsandGuyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.
As a youngster, Cara recorded a Spanish-language record for the Latin market and an English-language Christmas album. She also appeared in a major concert tribute to Duke Ellington, which featured Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr. and Roberta Flack.
Later came a comedic thriller City Heat, co-starring with Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds and singing the standards “Embraceable You” and “Get Happy”. She also co-wrote the theme song “City Heat”, which was sung by the jazz vocalist Joe Williams. In 1993. That same year, she appeared as Mary Magdalene in a tour of Jesus Christ Superstar opposite Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson and Dennis DeYoung.

Irene won the third round of the NBC television series Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, performing “Flashdance (What a Feeling)” and covered Anastacia’s song “I’m Outta Love” with her all-female band, Hot Caramel.

Cara’s publicist, Judith A. Moose, confirmed the news of her death in a statement shared on the singer’s Twitter account early Saturday morning.

Cara’s cause of death is unknown, but it will be released when information is available.

My friend may you be singing with the angels.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

More in Broadway

2ST’s Between Riverside and Crazy Rotates to Great Heights on Broadway

RossFebruary 3, 2023

Legendary Producer Julian Schlossberg Celebrates His New Memoir With Celebrity Guests

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 1, 2023

Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise Tries Hard, Without a Lot of Sing Song Blues to Run With

RossFebruary 1, 2023

Theatre News: MJ, Teachers Night on Broadway, The Actors Studio, Ragtime and The Wiz

Suzanna BowlingFebruary 1, 2023

The New Broadway Musical Shucked Finds Its Cast

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 30, 2023

MTC’s The Collaboration Makes Disposable Sellable Art for Consumption

RossJanuary 28, 2023

Roundabout Now Accepting Applications: Directing Fellowship and Directors Group

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 28, 2023

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Has Much To Say About Connection

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 26, 2023

Will Swenson and The Cast of A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical Wished The Musical Icon Happy Birthday

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 26, 2023