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.
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.
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.