Irene Cara Made It To Heaven

The Oscar and Grammy winning voice of the Eighties gone at 63

Irene Cara (Image: Twitter)

For many of us who grew up in the NYC area during the early 80s, Irene Cara was an icon.

As one of the stars of the 1980 film Fame and the person who sang its eternal Oscar-and-Golden-Globe-winning theme song, the Bronx-born Irene represented the hopes and dreams of a generation of kids who emulated her character Coco Hernandez. 

The song itself, which was written by Michael Gore with lyrics from Dean Pitchford, would go on to become the opening theme for the successful TV series that spun off the movie and ran from 1982 to 1987. No other song in the 80s had this kind of longevity in the spotlight, and none were arguably as deserving. Listening to the tune 42 years after it was originally released as a single, you cannot help but revel in Cara’s confidence as she declares, “I can catch the moon with my hand.” If you were one of the boys who had a hopeless crush on her, that confidence when combined with her beauty set off your heart like an atom bomb.

Cara would further cement her place in pop history when she would hit big with another massive movie theme for 1983’s Flashdance. “Flashdance… What A Feeling,” which she co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, would go onto to win the singer another Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

Though she would find much of her success overseas touring Europe and Asia in the last 30 years of her life, Irene Cara always owned her place in the annals of American pop culture. Not just as a singer but as an actress as well, getting her first major break co-starring in the 1976 film Sparkle and appearing in such VHS cult classics as 1983’s D.C. Cab, 1984’s City Heat and 1985’s Certain Fury. She was also on The Electric Company, Kojak and What’s Happening!! on the small screen. 

Cara died at her home in Largo, Florida on November 25, 2022, at the age of 63. She will be greatly missed.

Watching her dancing around the streets of 1980 Midtown Manhattan in the video for “Fame” is a gift that will last us our entire lives. 

Farewell to an Afro-Latina supernova whose name we will never forget.


Irene Cara “Fame”



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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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