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Irene Cara Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (3) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (45) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 March 1959New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameIrene Cara Escalera
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (3)

Ms. Cara is one of a select group of talented performers who have successfully made the transition from Theater to Television, then to Records, and then to Feature films. She is a veteran artist whose career began in childhood and has span over two decades. Honored by the entertainment industry, she received an Academy Award, two Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, plus numerous other awards emanating from every aspect of the industry. Her performance in the ground breaking 1980s picture, Fame (1980), catapulted her into world wide stardom and motivated a generation of young people to become involved in the performing arts.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Irene Cara began performing on stage at the tender age of five; her professional debut on stage was in Maggie Flynn, a Jack Cassidy-Shirley Jones Broadway musical. By the time she was 10, she had starred on and off Broadway. Her first national TV series was on the The Electric Company (1971), playing a member of the Short Circus, the in-house band, delivering musical grammar lessons through the educational program. The series starred Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, and a very young Morgan Freeman. As a teenager, she had begun embarking into films, her first role was playing lead in the motion picture Aaron Loves Angela (1975), which led to the title role in the cult-classic drama Sparkle (1976).

Television brought her serious dramatic roles in two life-inspiring mini series, the critically acclaimed adaptation of Alex Haley's novel Roots: The Next Generations (1979), and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980), but it was playing Coco Hernandez in the 1980 box office smash Fame (1980) that catapulted her to stardom. She sang both the top-ten title song Fame and the film's second hit single "Out here on My Own," resulted in a multi-platinum soundtrack that shot to the top of the charts. Fame's impact brought her a 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 1982 Irene starred opposite Diahann Carrolll and Rosalind Cash in the NBC Movie of the Week Sister, Sister (1982), which earned her the NAACP Image Award for Best Actress. She also recorded her first international album, "Anyone Can See." Further demonstrating her diversity and versatility, she portrayed Myrlie Evers in the PBS drama American Playhouse: For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983), a movie about the Civil Rights Leader. 1983 was the year Irene had it all, when she was requested to sing and co-write the theme song for the motion picture Flashdance (1983), which premiered with a runaway success and later became a major American pop-culture influence. The song "Flashdance...What a Feeling" (6 weeks at # 1) won her major awards: at the American Music Awards she took home Best R&B Female Artist and Best Pop Single of the Year. At the Grammys, she swept away with Best Pop Female Vocalist. As a songwriter, her talent earned her the 1983 Oscar for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, a second Grammy, and a People's Choice Award. She also lost out on a BAFTA award, the British version of the Academy Awards.

Following the success of "What a Feeling," Irene released a second album under the same title, earning the hits "Why Me?" and "Breakdance." She scored another hit with a third movie theme song, "The Dream (Hold on to your Dream)" from the Mr. T comedy D.C. Cab (1983). In 1985 she starred opposite Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, and Madeline Kahn in the Warner Bros. gangster comedy City Heat (1984). She has toured throughout Asia and Europe, and has made major appearances in Atlantic City and on all the top television shows in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. A final album, "Carasmatic," was released in 1987, after which Irene took her record managers to court accusing them of breach of contract and money issues. After a bitter 8-year battle she received over US$1 million in damages.

In 2000, she enjoyed a top-five hit duet throughout Europe with Swiss-German Star DJ Bobo in an enhanced remake of "What a Feeling." In 2003, Irene took part in the ABC music special The Disco Ball (2003), once again performing the song that shot her to fame. She performs occasionally on invited performances but spends much of her time helping out her new protégés--an all-girl group she calls Hot Caramel.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Marion Mageo

Irene Cara started out in the Spanish market at the tender age of five. Her first American television series was the acclaimed children's series The Electric Company (1971), starring alongside Bill Cosby and Morgan Freeman. In the Late 1970s she starred in the title roles for two Warner Bros. movies, Aaron Loves Angela (1975) and Sparkle (1976), as well as starring as Bertha Haley, Alex Haley's mother as a teenager, in the Emmy-winning television mini-series Roots: The Next Generations (1979).

In 1980, she was one of the stars in an ensemble cast in the mega hit movie _Fame (1980)_ (qv, in which she was a lead actress,and sang the two Oscar-nominated songs (this was the first time ever the same movie had two nominated songs). Fame opened the door to both a singing and acting career. Her movies proved to be lackluster (Killing 'em Softly (1982), City Heat (1984), Certain Fury (1985), Busted Up (1986)), while her music was thriving. She won an Oscar for co-writing "Flashdance...What a Feeling" in 1983, her biggest hit. She ended up releasing three albums and had songs on various soundtracks, mostly of films in which she acted. Among her other hits were "Breakdance" and "Why Me?" off of her second album, 1983's "What a Feeling." Her first album, 1982's "Anyone Can See," produced one top-forty hit with the title song.

Her woes began when she was paid just US$183 for her work in Flashdance (1983). Since then, most of her movie songs weren't released, and her career went downhill. While she eventually won US$1.5 million from her business associates. Her third album, 1987's "Carasmatic," was shelved and never released. She then largely confined her talents to Europe in the 1990s and beyond, churning out various dance songs and scoring a top 10 hit in 2001 with a remake of "Flashdance...What a feeling" with DJ Bobo.

A look back at her music shows us some fine work that should rightly be rediscovered. If nothing else, Irene Cara is an unsung 1980s pop princess.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: rimjak

Spouse (1)

Conrad E. Palmisano (13 April 1986 - 1991) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Energetic, upbeat vocals
Records songs for movie soundtracks

Trivia (45)

Born at 10:41am-EST
Actress, singer, and songwriter.
Latino Playwrights Award: Award of Recognition. [1985]
Golden Eagle Awards: Nosotros - Latin America Performer of the Year [1984]
Grammy Awards: Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female [1984]
Alpha Music Program in Japan: #1 Female Vocalist from Sendai TV's "Saturday Magazine" [1983]
American Music Awards: Best R&B Female Artist nomination [1983]
American Music Awards: Best Pop Single of the Year [1983]
Bravo Magazine: Otto Award, Most Popular Female Singer [1983]
Cashbox Magazine: Top Female Vocalist - Pop Singles [1983]
Cashbox Magazine: Black Contemporary - Pop Singles [1983]
Cashbox Magazine: Adult Contemporary Vocalist - Pop Singles [1983]
Cashbox Magazine: Top Pop Crossover Artist - Black Contemporary Singles [1983]
Cashbox Magazine: Pop Single of the Year [1983]
Academy Awards (not recipient: sang both songs) [1981]
Grammy Awards: Nomination - Best Pop Vocal Performance - Female [1981]
Grammy Awards: Nomination - Best New Artist [1981]
(award) Billboard Magazine: Top New Single Artist [1980]
(award) Cashbox Magazine: Most Promising Female Vocalist [1980]
(award) Cashbox Magazine: Top Female Vocalist [1980]
(award) Japan Radio Hit Research Committee: Most Popular Disc Award [1980]
Listed as one of twelve Promising New Actors of 1976 in John Willis's "Screen World," Vol. 28.
Won the Oscar for best song in 1984 for the song "Flashdance - What a Feeling," which she co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder.
Her father Gaspar is of African American and Puerto Rican descent, and her mother Louise is of French and Cuban descent.
Won a bitter lawsuit with her managers over money and career issues in the 1990s.
Chosen by Francesco Scavullo for his 1980s book on some of the most beautiful women in the entertainment business. Irene shared the pages with supermodel Gia Carangi, Diahann Carroll, and Brooke Shields.
She was the first artist to perform two nominated songs at the Academy Awards, when in 1981, for the first time, two songs from one film (Fame (1980)) were nominated for Best Original Song: "Fame" and 'Out here on My Own." The former won.
Recorded her first record in Spanish for the Latin Market by age 8 and a Christmas LP in English soon after.
At age 10 she appeared in a major concert tribute to Duke Ellington with Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr. and Roberta Flack.
Her #1 hit "Flashdance...What a Feeling" was ranked #67 on VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs.
Performed Flashdance...What a Feeling on March 14, 2003 at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Philadelphia 76ers 1983 Championship team.
Was one of the five finalists for the Little Miss America pageant at age 3.
Was awarded the trophy for Top Actress of 1976 after being selected in a poll compiled by readers of Right On! magazine.
Wrote the lyrics to "Flashdance..What a Feeling" with co-writer Keith Forsey while riding in a car in New York heading to the studio to record it. The music for Flashdance was written by Giorgio Moroder and the after result was not only a #1 record, it also won them an Oscar and a Grammy.
Use to sing back-up vocals for quite a few stars, including Vicki Sue Robinson and Lou Reed.
On June 22, 2004, two of her movie theme songs, "Flashdance...What a Feeling" (#55) from Flashdance (1983) and "Fame" (#51) from Fame (1980), were selected by the board of the American Film Institute in its list of 100 Years of the Greatest Songs.
On March 27, 2004, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Honor at the 6th Annual Prestige Awards. She was also inducted a week earlier into the Ciboney Cafe's prestigious Hall of Fame.
Parents are Gaspar and Louise Cara.
Has 2 sisters and 2 brothers.
Her age has always been a confusing mystery by biographers who stated her birth year as either 1964 or 1959 from the day she shot to fame. But in July 2004 the mystery was finally solved when the Associated Press obtained her voter registration records from Florida, where she lived, and confirmed her birth year as 1959. Miss Cara disputes this, and says it was not her voters registration. She claims she has never voted and her correct date of birth is March 18th 1962.
Graduated from the Professional Children's School in Manhattan, a rival of the Laguardia High School of Music & Art on which her debut movie "Fame" is based.
Announced the making of her own all-girl band called Hot Caramel.
She has her own production studio.
As of 2009, Cara is the only black woman to win an Oscar outside the acting categories.
Lives in Florida, and has put together a new band, Caramel [July 2001]

Personal Quotes (6)

I don't mean to sound immodest, but I'd never had any doubt that I'd be successful, nor any fear of success. I was raised as a little goddess who was told she would be a star. - Cosmo Magazine 1985
I love taxis. Cabbies are the best therapists, good listeners, good talkers, working-class people i hope never to lose contact with.
"I didn't get where I am because of looks. "I've done it on talent! I've never had to depend on my looks for anything. I haven't sat around and tried to look pretty. - I've worked my butt off!" - (Ebony Magazine July 1981)
"I knew people would be saying mean things about me copying Donna Summer and trying to follow in her footsteps by using her producer. But by the time Flashdance had come out I had established my own identity. I wasn't worried about people saying I was just a Donna copy." - (TV Week Magazine May 12, 1984)
"I refuse to let anybody try to typecast me. "It's against my nature. I like to continually do different things." - (Video Rock Stars 1985)
"It's important for me to get back to my fans here and around the world. I feel very, very blessed that so many people have continued to write me and to pour out their love for me and my work." - ( Star Magazine April 5, 1993)

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