Irene Cara

Birth Name: Irene Cara Escalera

Date of Birth: March 18, 1959

Place of Birth: New York City, New York City, U.S.

Date of Death: November 25, 2022

Place of Death: Largo, Florida, U.S.

*Puerto Rican (father)
*Cuban (mother)

Irene Cara was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress. She is known for the songs “Fame” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” and for starring in the film Sparkle (1976).

Her father, Gaspar Escalera, a saxophonist, was Puerto Rican, from San Juan, and was of heavily/predominantly African ancestry. Her mother, Louise (Betancourt), was of Cuban descent. Irene performed in Spanish as well as English. A picture of Irene with her parents can be seen here.

Irene’s paternal grandfather was named Ramón Escalera (the son of Agapito Escalera and Simplicia).

Irene’s paternal grandmother was Cruz Figueras (the daughter of Mario Figueras and Irene Gonzalez).

Irene’s maternal grandfather was Silvester/Sylvester Betancourt (the son of Dionicio Betancourt and Angela Delgado). Silvester was born in Florida, to Cuban parents.

Source: Genealogy of Irene Cara (focusing on her mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

14 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.