Irene Cara Biography. Irene Cara, an actress, singer, songwriter, and producer, was destined for a life of success that many people aspire to but very few ever achieve. Irene’s path to popularity was littered with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, from her ability to play the piano by ear at age five to winning an Oscar, many Grammys, a Golden Globe, and a People’s Choice Award.
Irene was enrolled in music, acting, and dance classes as soon as her parents became aware of their daughter’s innate aptitude. Irene was a finalist in the “Little Miss America” pageant at the age of three after her mother entered her in several contests just before that.
She began her professional singing and dancing career on Spanish-language television before appearing on programs like “The Original Amateur Hour,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” She also performed in a number of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, such as “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “The Me Nobody Knows,” “Maggie Flynn,” with Shirley Jones and Tony Award nominee Jack Cassidy, and “Via Galactica,” with Raul Julia.
After performing on stage, series television looked to be the logical next step. She would fit in on the educational series “The Electric Company” and the daytime drama “Love of Life,” where she took part as a member of the ensemble “The Short Circus,” which used music to teach kids grammar. The cast of “The Electric Company”
Before appearing on programs like “The Original Amateur Hour,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” she began her professional career on Spanish-language television singing and dancing. Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Obie Award-winning musical “The Me Nobody Knows,” “Maggie Flynn,” with Shirley Jones and Tony Award-nominated actor Jack Cassidy, and “Via Galactica” with Raul Julia were just a few of the Broadway and Off Broadway plays that used her ability.
The next logical step after performing on stage appeared to be television programs. She would fit in on the daytime drama “Love of Life” and the educational series “The Electric Company,” where she took part as a member of the ensemble “The Short Circus,” which used music to teach kids grammar. Actors in “The Electric Company”
Irene’s next stop was the big screen after she had successfully completed her careers on Broadway, television, and recording. Before she turned adolescent, she had won the lead role in the movie Aaron Loves Angela. She was chosen to play the lead role in the now-cult classic musical drama “Sparkle” because of her outstanding performance in the film. Irene received praise from critics around the world for her performances in “Roots: The Next Generation,” where she co-starred with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, as well as “The Guyanna Tragedy: The Jim Jones Story,” in which she reteamed with LeVar Burton and James Earl Jones. Despite everything she had already accomplished, she had no idea what super-stardom would be like.
Irene played the role of Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical film Fame, which told the tale of a group of applicants to New York’s High School for the Performing Arts. The movie follows the kids from their first to last days at the school and serves as a spotlight on LaGuardia High, the film’s basis, and its rival Julliard. The title song “Fame” as well as “Out Here on My Own” served as platforms for Irene’s exceptional solo vocal abilities. It was the first time two songs from the same movie were nominated in the same category, and both of them were performed by Irene, therefore they and Irene would go down in Academy Awards history. The Academy Award for Best Original Song went to the song’s title tune.
The impact of ‘Fame’ would catapult Irene Cara into a household name and earn her two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Artist, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical. Billboard Magazine named her the Top New Single Artist and Cashbox Magazine awarded her with the Most Promising Female Vocalist and Top Female Vocalist honors.
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