Irene Cara Ethnicity & Ancestral Background

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  • Post last modified:April 28, 2023
Irene Cara Ethnicity & Ancestral Background
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It’s been some months since the Fame singer Irene Cara Escalera died. But given her prominence and legacy, people still often want to know a thing or two about the late Out Here On My Own singer in this case her ethnicity and ancestral details.
Read what ethnicities her blood actually carried to some more intricate pieces of information about her parents, grandparents, and even further.

Irene Cara Ethnicity & Ancestral Background

Irene’s ethnicities included Puerto Rican (from her father) and Cuban (mother). To say more about her parents, Irene’s father, Gaspar Escalera was a Saxophonist from Puerto Rico, San Juan. He apparently was predominantly of African ancestry. Irene’s mother, Louise (Betancourt), on the other hand, was of Cuban descent.

Irene Cara Escalera in the middle with her mother Louise and her father Gaspar Cara.
Fame actress Irene Cara with her mother Louise and her father Gaspar Cara. Getty

To go further, Irene’s paternal grandfather Ramon Escalera was the son of Agapito Escalera and Simplicia. The Oscar winner’s grandmother Cruz Figueras was the daughter of Mario Figueras and Irene Gonzalez. It however is unclear if the Fame singer got her name from the latter.

Meanwhile Irene’s maternal grandfather Silvester/Sylvester Betancourt was born in Florida. He was the son of Cuban parents Dionicio Betancourt and Angela Delgado.

Irene Cara Birth, Parents

Irene Cara was born Irene Cara Escalera on March 18, 1959. Her parents raised her in the Bronx, New York City. Cara was the youngest of five children. The late songwriter had two sisters and two brothers.

Speaking of her father, Gaspar, he was also a steel factory worker in addition to being a retired saxophonist. Irene’s mother, Louise on the other hand was a movie theater usher.

Irene began to play the piano by ear. She additionally also learned music, acting, and dance at the same time. Cara had begun taking dance lessons when she was five.

Flashdance What A Feeling singer Irene Cara Escalera
Aaron Loves Angela actress Irene Cara Escalera.

It would be on a Spanish-language television where Irene started her singing and dancing career. The Grammy winner made early TV appearances on The Original Amateur Hour in addition to Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show.

From 1971 to 1972 Cara occasionally appeared on The Electric Company. It was an educational show on PBS where Irene was a member of the Short Circus. Cara released a Spanish language album for the Latin market and an English language Christmas album all during her childhood. When growing up, Irene also got to share the stage with Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr, and Roberta Flack.

Irene studied at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan. Cara once stated that she had always been confident in her ability to succeed and was never afraid of it.


Narayan Shankar, who goes by the name David, is a seasoned writer and editor, who has a passion for covering the entertainment industry. He has years of experience writing content, especially in the entertainment niche. He is currently an editor and writer for along with other websites under our organization named Pandora Group of Companies.