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‘Fame’ Choreographer Debbie Allen Remembers Film’s Star Irene Cara

Debbie Allen says discussing Irene Cara’s death is “hard,” and she had hoped for the Fame star’s participation in a documentary about the 1980 film.
Debbie Allen and Irene Cara on the set of 1980's Fame

Debbie Allen and Irene Cara on the set of 1980's Fame

Courtesy of Extra

Legendary choreographer Debbie Allen is remembering the late Irene Cara.

The two worked together on the 1980 film Fame.

Extra’s Melvin Robert spoke with Allen, who became emotional talking about Cara.

She admitted, “That’s hard to talk about … That was painful. I’ve known her since she was 12 in New York.”

Allen recalled her early memories of Cara, adding, “She played Carnegie Hall when she was like 13. She’s a genius talent her whole life.”

“I just wanted more from her,” Allen went on. “I felt so hurt to know we lost her. I didn’t know she had been ill … We are planning a big documentary on Fame and certainly she was going to be a part of that. But that hurt to lose her.”

Of Cara's legacy, Allen noted, “She’s given us so much to remember forever … She inspired millions of young people. She wasn’t just on camera, was writing music, she was creating. She had input in her life.”

In the spirit of the holidays, Allen also discussed her annual production of the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, which she’s been doing for 12 years.

She shared, “It’s unique. It’s culturally diverse. It’s relevant to a whole ‘nother generation of young people. It’s got music that’s Hip-Hop, Bollywood. It just goes to some new places.”

Allen is motivated to keep going with the productions because of “these young people,” who “mean everything” to her.

As for what she hopes that people will take away after watching Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, Allen answered, “I hope people take away the joy of the arts and why we need it in our children’s lives.”

She has definitely made a difference in the life of Melvin, who trained under her after he graduated college.

To buy tickets to Hot Chocolate Nutcrackervisit!