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Cree Summer Francks (born July 7, 1969), best known as Cree Summer, is an African-Canadian Native American actress, musician and voice actress. She is perhaps best known for her role as college student Winifred "Freddie" Brooks on the NBC sitcom A Different World. As a voice actress Summer is best known for voicing Penny in Inspector Gadget during Season 1, Elmyra Duff in Tiny Toon Adventures, Susie Carmichael on Rugrats and All Grown Up, Princess Kida in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Valerie Gray in Danny Phantom, Foxxy Love in Drawn Together, Numbuh 5 and Cree Lincoln in Codename: Kids Next Door, and Cleo the Dog in the Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Early life and family

Summer was born in Los Angeles, California in 1969, but grew up on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Canadians Don Francks and Lili Red Eagle, a member of the Plains Cree First Nations. Her brother, Rainbow Sun Francks, is a former MuchMusic VJ and former cast member of the television show Stargate Atlantis.

Acting and voice acting career

Summer's career began in 1983 when she was cast as the voice of niece Penny on the original cartoon version of Inspector Gadget. Her unique, throaty voice was instantly recognizable to casting agents (as well as viewers even today), who began frequently casting her in animated programs. Many of these were part of cult franchises, like The Care Bears Movie (1985) and Ewoks (1985, part of the Star Wars franchise).

Audiences finally had a chance to put Summer's voice to a face when she was cast as the Afrocentric Winifred "Freddie" Brooks in The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World.[1] She remained a regular cast member of the show from 1988 through its end in 1993.

During the run of A Different World, Summer continued working in voice acting. She was cast in the short-lived television series Sweet Justice in 1994 until its cancellation in 1995. Barring guest appearances on other live-action television shows such as Living Single Summer's professional work since has been limited to voice acting.

At the start of the series' third season in 1988, the cartoon series Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters episodes were expanded from their original half-hour format to last an hour, and the overall feel of the show was changed to be more youthful, with episodes having a lighter tone to be less frightening (even switching artistic styles from more serious to less). During the less serious segments, Cree voiced the sweet and helpful Chilly Cooper, neighborhood ice-cream woman and innocent love interest of Slimer.

In all, Summer has voiced over 100 animated characters between 1983 and 2006. These have spanned the realm of video games, cartoon television series, animated films and commercials. Among her most famous roles was in Inspector Gadget (Season 1) as Penny (a role she reprised in the Robot Chicken episode "Adoption's an Option"), Tiny Toon Adventures (1990) as Elmyra Duff (which she reprised for Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain) and Mary Melody, Aka Pella in Histeria!, Susie Carmichael in Rugrats and its spin-off All Grown Up!, Cleo the Poodle in Clifford the Big Red Dog, Foxxy Love in Drawn Together, Dulcy the dragon in Sonic the Hedgehog, Princess 'Kida' Kidagakash for Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Valerie Gray in Danny Phantom (2004), Numbuh 5 (Abigail Lincoln) and Cree Lincoln in Codename: Kids Next Door, Penelope in Barbie As Rapunzel and Miranda from As Told by Ginger, Tiff on My Life as a Teenage Robot, octogenerian villain Granny May on WordGirl and Blackarachnia in Transformers Animated (2008).

In the first season Drawn Together DVD commentary she stated that she was originally hired to do the voice of Meg Griffin on FOX's animated series Family Guy, but was fired as she didn't have the right voice.

Summer is a frequent co-star of Canadian-American actress Tara Strong: the two are childhood friends, both having grown up in Toronto, Ontario [2].

Video Game Voice Acting in Detail

For the Playstation 2, she voiced-over in the games Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance & the video game BLACK. In particular, she voiced Tandi in Fallout and was also the voice of Tatjana in Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits; Lady Belgemine, Young Tidus and additional voice-overs in Final Fantasy X; Lenne/Calli in Final Fantasy X-2; Storm in Marvel Super Hero squad; Cynder in The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning and Magma in X-Men Legends, and the voice of Catalina Thorn, the leader of the Cell in Crackdown 2.

Music career

Summer has been singing since an early age and joined her first band at 13. In 1990, she sang background vocals on two tracks for fellow A Different World cast member Jasmine Guy's self titled LP. In 1993 she released an album (as lead singer) with her band Subject to Change. The album was not officially released by Capitol Records because of creative differences; the records that were produced were distributed as promotions and are considered a rarity. The band, with an aggressive political message and rock-soul fusion sound, remained popular as a co-headlining act with other performers. In 1999, Summer released her solo album Street Faërie produced by and featuring guest artist (and friend) Lenny Kravitz, but the album was not hugely successful. Although Summer toured as Kravitz's opening act, her label dropped her and a planned spot with Lilith Fair was canceled. The label continued to promote the album, however, sending out a four-track sampler to radio and issuing remix singles of the track "Revelation Sunshine" in Europe, with a special single specifically for Austria.

Summer recorded a song titled "Savior Self" for which she directed a music video co-starring Zoe Kravitz, daughter of actress Lisa Bonet and rocker Lenny Kravitz. The video was screened online, but the track was never made available commercially, nor was it distributed to radio.

A number of Summer's portrayed characters (animated or otherwise) are singers or sing songs within the soundtrack of a show. The character of Susie in All Grown Up! was portrayed as a singer with real talent, allowing Summer to sing in the role [3]. Cree Summer also sings the opening theme song for All Grown Up! The character of Foxxy Love in Drawn Together was a singer, with songs like "La-La-Labia", Numbuh 5 from Codename: Kids Next Door sang a Lullaby to lull babies to sleep. Elmyra Duff as she sang in many times on the show of Tiny Toon Adventures. She co-performed lead vocals in the song "Cool Kitty" with Tara Strong, which accompanied a cartoon called Class of 3000, directed and written for Cartoon Network by André 3000.

Filmography

Animated series roles

  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Princess
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series: Cat, "Active News" Anchor
  • Angelica and Susie's Pre-School Daze: Susie Carmichael
  • Animaniacs: Elmyra Duff (one episode)
  • As Told by Ginger: Miranda Killgallen
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Princess Kida
  • Atom TV: Voices on the Judge Fudge Segments
  • Barbie as Rapunzel: Penelope
  • Batman Beyond: Maxine "Max" Gibson, Tigress
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Vixen
  • Ben 10: Frightwig
  • Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures: Sarah
  • Bonkers: Alto, Young Toon Saxophone (one episode)
  • Bratz: Aloncè
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: Savy SL2 (one episode)
  • The Buzz on Maggie: Rayna Cartflight
  • California Raisins: Crystal
  • Camp Candy: Robin
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Karen
  • ChalkZone: Sonny
  • Celebrity Deathmatch: Miss Elliot
  • Class of 3000: Kaylie ("Prank Yankers"),(singing voice), Tanya
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog: Cleo
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh Five, Cree Lincoln, DCFDTL
  • Cro: Soolie
  • Danny Phantom: Valerie Gray (starting from "Shades of Grey")
  • Dave the Barbarian: Mona, Sheebor (one episode)
  • Drawn Together: Foxxy Love, Strawberry Sweetcake, Super Nanny, Ni-Pul, Xandir's Girlfriend, Captain She-Ro
  • Four Eyes!: Miss Doager
  • Freakazoid!: Jill (one episode)
  • Garbage Pail Kids: Clogged Duane, Heartless Hal, Trashed Tracy, Squishy, Plain Jane
  • Gargoyles (TV series): Hyena
  • Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles: Hyena
  • Germbusters: The Animated Series: Blobbilda, Snottella, Germelda
  • The Goode Family: Souki
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy: Cave Witch (one episode)
  • Horrible Histories: Mo, additional voices
  • Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater: Catnip
  • Hercules: Anaxerete
  • Histeria!: Aka Pella
  • The Incredible Hulk (1996 TV series): She-Hulk (season 2)
  • Inspector Gadget: Penny (season 1, Gadget's Greatest Gadgets)
  • Johnnie Talk: Herself
  • Johnny Bravo: Amy Elephant (one episode)
  • The Judy Show: Aunt Lucy, Mrs. Esmeralda the Saleslady at the Beauty Shop, Nurse Nancy
  • Jungle Cubs: Louie (season 2)
  • Justice League Unlimited: Female Singer (one episode)
  • Kid 'n Play (TV series): Marika, Downtown
  • Kim Possible: Additional Voices
  • The Land Before Time (TV series): Tippy
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Lana (one episode)
  • The Little Mermaid (TV series): Pearl
  • Loonatics Unleashed: Little Kid
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Diver, Buff Delinquent (one episode)
  • The Mask: The Animated Series: Jennifer Peenman, Gorgonzola, Cookie BaBoom (one episode)
  • Men in Black: The Series: Vonda
  • Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm: Princess Kitana
  • Mummies Alive!: Nefer-Tina
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: Mrs. Tusk, Kerry, Mrs. Loon, Latanya Hippo, Eddie Panther
  • My Little Pony and Friends: Medley
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Stephanie (one episode), Tiff, Queen Vexus (one episode), Vicky, and QT2
  • The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil: Additional Voices
  • The New Adventures of Captain Planet: Georgina Cabor (one episode)
  • The New Batman Adventures: Ice Maiden #2 (one episode)
  • The New Kids on the Block: Additional Voices
  • The New Woody Woodpecker Show: Additional Voices
  • The New Yogi Bear Show: Additional Voices
  • No P in the O.O.L.: Numbah 5
  • Ozzy and Drix: Mayor Sartonni
  • Pepper Ann: Tessa James, Vanessa James
  • Peter Pan and the Pirates: Tiger Lily
  • Pinky and the Brain: Bunny, Receptionist
  • Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain: Elmyra Duff
  • The Plucky Duck Show: Elmyra Duff
  • Problem Child (TV series): Spencer
  • Project G.e.e.K.e.R.: Lady MacBeth
  • The Proud Family: Peabo
  • Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters: Chilly Cooper
  • The Replacements: Nature Activist (one episode)
  • Robot Chicken: Penny, Evil Little Girl (one episode) (a reprisal of her original role in Inspect Gadget)
  • Rocket Power: Crystal Bianca (one episode)
  • Rugrats and All Grown Up!: Susie Carmichael
  • Sabrina, the Animated Series: Chloe Flan
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series): Dulcy the Dragon
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Glory Grant
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series: Professor Williams, Joana
  • The Super Hero Squad Show: Storm
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Rainsong, Natasha Irons
  • Star Wars: Ewoks: Princess Kneesaa (season one)
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars: Luminara Unduli
  • Star Wars: Droids: Princess Gerin
  • Static Shock: Candide
  • Sylvanian Families: Jessica, Donny
  • Teacher's Pet: Additional Voices
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Elmyra Duff, Mary Melody
  • Totally Spies!: Model and Tuesday Tate (one episode)
  • Transformers: Animated: Decepticon Blackarachnia
  • The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat: Master Cylinder, Sheba Beboporeba (one episode)
  • The Wacky World of Tex Avery: Khanie
  • Wayside: Bebe Gunn
  • The Weekenders: Penny DeCartes, Todd DeCartes, Carver's Mom
  • Widget the World Watcher: Additional Voices
  • The Wild Thornberrys: Feral Girl, Panther (one episode)
  • W.I.T.C.H. (TV series): Ember
  • Word Girl: Granny May
  • The Zeta Project: Skye Hoaps

Live-action TV show roles

  • Courthouse: Danni
  • A Different World: Winifred "Freddie" Brooks
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Lisa Adams (one episode)
  • Living Single: Summer (one episode)
  • Night Heat: Karen Simmons (one episode)
  • Sweet Justice: Reese Daulkins

Video game roles

  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire - Kida, Atlantean Child
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits - Tatjana
  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance - voices
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum - Dr. Young
  • Black - MacCarver
  • Bratz Forever Diamondz : Mandy
  • Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall - Numbuh Five
  • Crackdown 2 : Catalina Thorn
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog: Phonics : Cleo
  • Dragon Age: Origins - voices
  • Driver: Parallel Lines : voices
  • Fallout : Tandi
  • Fallout 2 : Lynnette
  • Fantastic Four : Alicia Masters
  • Freelancer : Dr. Kendra Sinclair
  • Final Fantasy X : Belgemine, Young Tidus
  • Final Fantasy X-2 : Lenne, Calli
  • Germbusters & Germbusters 2: Germbusters Strike Again! : Various female bad guys
  • inFamous - Various Voices
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning : Cynder
  • Lords of Everquest : Solruua
  • Mass Effect : Additional voices
  • Pitfall: The Lost Expedition : Micay
  • Rugrats Go Wild : Susie Carmichael
  • Run Like Hell: Hunt or Be Hunted : Samantha
  • Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty : Executor Selendis
  • Tony Hawk's American Wasteland : Mindy
  • X-Men Legends : Magma

Filmography

Animated Film Roles
Year Film Role Notes
1984 Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name Various Characters
1985 The Care Bears Movie Kim
Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins Orange Blossom (uncredited)
1986 Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation Christy
1987 Hearts of Fire Colt's Band Member
Madballs: Escape from Orb! Freakella
1992 Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation Elmyra Duff/Mary Melody
1998 The Rugrats Movie Susie Carmichael
2000 An Extremely Goofy Movie Girl at the Club
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie Susie Carmichael
2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire Kida
2002 Barbie as Rapunzel Penelope
The Wild Thornberrys Movie Phaedra
Kermit's Swamp Years Pilgrim
2003 Rugrats Go Wild Susie Carmichael
Milo's Return Kida
2004 Clifford's Really Big Movie Cleo
2005 The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses Lizzie & Bonehead
Karas (anime) Yurine
2006 Bambi II Mena
Bratz Forever Diamondz Mandy
Operation: Z.E.R.O. Numbuh 5 (Abigail Lincoln) & Cree Lincoln
Bratz Genie Magic Zell
2007 Superman: Doomsday Mercy Graves
Hellboy: Blood and Iron Hecate
2008 Turok: Son of Stone Sepinto
TBA Conan: Red Nails Valeria
? Blizzard Aphrodite
Elise: Mere Mortal Elise
Free Lunch Kristi
Full Moon Lexie
Live-action Films
Year Title Role Channel
1987 Wild Thing Lisa
2004 The N-Word Herself
? Bay Cozen Jazz Singer
Perfect Crimes Cheryl
Tuesday Morning Ride Guest appearance
TV Films
Year Title Role Channel
Television
Year Title Role Notes
Television guest appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Blindsided Singer

Discography

Albums

  • Appeared on the Juno Award-nominated album I Lost My Pet Lizard (1979)
  • Appeared as Debbie in the Canadian Sesame Street album Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch: Camping in Canada (1981)
  • Womb Amnesia - (1993) (with her band Subject to Change)
  • Street Faërie - (1999)

Singles

  • Revelation Sunshine

References

  1. "Off The Reservation, `Different World`s` Cree Summer Is A Bundle Of Contradictions". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  2. Drawn Together "Hot Tub" DVD commentary
  3. Inside The "All Grown Up" Series

External links


fi:Cree Summer

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