Irene Cara (born March 18, 1959) is an American singer and actress. Cara won an Academy Award in 1984 in the category of Best Original Song for co-writing "Flashdance... What a Feeling." She is also known for her recording of the song "Fame", and she also starred in the 1980 film Fame.
She married Hollywood stuntman Conrad Palmisano in 1986. They divorced in 1991.
Cara's father, Gaspar Cara, was Puerto Rican and Cara's mother, Louise, was an American of Cuban descent. Cara has two sisters and two brothers. At age three, Irene Cara was one of five finalists for the 'Little Miss America' pageant. At age five, Cara began to play the piano "by ear". Soon thereafter, she began seriously studying music, acting, and dance. Cara's performing career started when she was a child on Spanish-language television, professionally singing and dancing. She made early TV appearances on the Original Amateur Hour (singing in Spanish) and Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. She was a regular on PBS’s educational program The Electric Company, which starred Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, and Morgan Freeman. As a child, Cara recorded a Latin-market Spanish-language record; an English Christmas album soon followed. She also appeared in a major concert tribute to Duke Ellington (with Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr. and Roberta Flack).