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Cree Summer Francks (born July 7, 1969) is an American-Canadian actress and singer. She is known for playing Winifred "Freddie" Brooks on the NBC sitcom '' A Different World''. In animation, Summer was the original voice of Penny (Inspector Gadget), Penny in the 1983 cartoon ''Inspector Gadget (1983 TV series), Inspector Gadget''. Her other voice roles include Princess Kneesaa in ''Ewoks (TV series), Ewoks'', List of Tiny Toon Adventures characters#Elmyra Duff, Elmyra Duff in ''Tiny Toon Adventures'' and ''Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain'', Susie Carmichael in ''Rugrats'' and ''All Grown Up!'', Numbuh 5 and Cree Lincoln in ''Codename: Kids Next Door'', and Cleo the Poodle in ''Clifford the Big Red Dog (TV series), Clifford the Big Red Dog''. She is also the voice of Princess Kida in the franchise of ''Atlantis: The Lost Empire'', Valerie Gray in ''Danny Phantom'', Penelope in ''Barbie as Rapunzel'', Blackarachnia in ''Transformers Animated'', Rayna Cartflight in ''The Buzz on Maggie'', Beast Girl and Elasti-Girl in ''Teen Titans Go! (TV series), Teen Titans Go!'', Priscilla Skunk in ''Sheriff Callie's Wild West'', Maxine "Max" Gibson in ''Batman Beyond'', Foxxy Love in ''Drawn Together'', Magma (comics), Magma in ''X-Men Legends'', Yvonne and Gordon in ''Mrs. Munger's Class'', Nebula (comics), Nebula in ''Guardians of the Galaxy (TV series), Guardians of the Galaxy,'' Witch Haggar in ''Voltron: Legendary Defender,'' and Queen Xhan in ''Kid Cosmic''. She also voiced the character Mo in the ''Horrible Histories (2001 TV series), Horrible Histories'', as well as Kermit's Mom, Star and Pilgrim in ''Kermit's Swamp Years'', and appeared on ''Queen Sugar''.


Early life

Summer was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 7, 1969, and grew up on the Red Pheasant First Nation, Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Don Francks, a Canadians, Canadian actor and musician, and Lili Clark from North Richmond, California, an adopted member of the Plains Cree First Nations. She and her family also traveled and lived around British Columbia during her childhood, and she started public school at the age of nine in Toronto. Her brother, Rainbow Sun Francks, is an actor and a former MuchMusic VJ (media personality), VJ.


Career


Acting

Summer's acting career began in 1983 when she was cast as Penny in the first season of the original version of ''Inspector Gadget (1983 TV series), Inspector Gadget''. Her unique, throaty voice was instantly recognizable to viewers, as well as casting agents, who began frequently casting her in animated programs. Many of these were part of cult franchises, like ''The Care Bears Movie'' (1985) and ''Ewoks (TV series), Ewoks'' (1985, part of the ''Star Wars'' franchise). In 1988, Summer was cast as the freespirited Winifred "Freddie" Brooks in ''The Cosby Show'' spin-off '' A Different World''. 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. In the fall of that same year, Summer and her '' A Different World'' co-star Jenifer Lewis starred in the primetime drama ''Courthouse (TV series), Courthouse'', which was cancelled two months after it premiered. Apart from guest appearances on other live-action television shows such as ''Living Single'' and ''The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'', Summer's professional work since has been limited to voice acting. At the start of the third season of ''A Different World'' in 1988, the cartoon series ''The Real Ghostbusters'' episodes were expanded from their original half-hour format to an hour. The show was changed to be more youthful. Episodes had a lighter tone designed to be less serious and frightening. In these lighter episodes, Cree voiced the sweet and helpful Chilly Cooper, the neighborhood ice-cream woman and innocent love interest of Slimer. Summer voiced over 101 animated characters between 1983 and 2006. These have spanned video games, cartoon television series, animated films and commercials. Among her most famous roles was in ''Inspector Gadget (1983 TV series), Inspector Gadget'' (Season 1) as Penny (Inspector Gadget), Penny (a role she reprised in the ''Robot Chicken'' episode "Adoption's an Option"), Warner Bros. Animation, WB's ''Tiny Toon Adventures'' (1990) as List of Tiny Toon Adventures characters#Elmyra Duff, Elmyra Duff (which she reprised for ''Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain'') and Mary Melody, List of Histeria! characters#Aka Pella, Aka Pella in WB's ''Histeria!'', Susie Carmichael in Nickelodeon's ''Rugrats'' and its spin-off ''All Grown Up!'', Cleo the Poodle in PBS Kids' ''Clifford the Big Red Dog (TV series), Clifford the Big Red Dog'', Miranda from Nickelodeon's ''As Told by Ginger'', Foxxy Love in Drawn Together, Dulcy the Dragon in ''Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series), Sonic the Hedgehog'', Princess 'Kida' Kidagakash for the franchise of Disney's ''Atlantis: The Lost Empire'', Valerie Gray in Nickelodeon's ''Danny Phantom'', Numbuh 5 in Cartoon Network's ''Codename: Kids Next Door,'' Penelope in ''Barbie as Rapunzel, Barbie As Rapunzel'', octogenarian villain Granny May on ''WordGirl'', Tiff from Nickelodeon's ''My Life as a Teenage Robot'', and Blackarachnia#Transformers Animated, Blackarachnia in ''Transformers: Animated''. In December 2016, Summer reprised her role as Penny from ''Inspector Gadget'' in an episode of the web-series, ''Nostalgia Critic''. Summer is a frequent co-star of Canadian-American actress Tara Strong; the two are childhood friends, both having grown up in Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.


Video game voice acting

She performed voice over for the games ''Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance'', ''Black (video game), BLACK'', as well as Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. She voiced Auriel in ''Diablo III, Diablo 3'','''' and reprised the role for ''Heroes of the Storm.'' ''S''he was also the voice of Tandi in ''Fallout (video game), Fallout'' and First Citizen Lynette in ''Fallout 2,'' 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,'' Magma in ''X-Men Legends'', and the Inca Princess Micay in ''Pitfall: The Lost Expedition''.'''' She voices Medusa in the game ''Kid Icarus: Uprising'' for the Nintendo 3DS.'''' She voiced Catalina Thorn, the leader of the Cell in ''Crackdown 2.'' She had a small role in ''Mass Effect''. She also did miscellaneous voices in ''World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria''. She reprised her voice of She-Hulk in ''Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet''.'''' She also voiced Kit Brinny in the introduction video for the MMORPG ''WildStar (video game), Wildstar''. She provides the voice of vampire Roller derby, derby girl Roller Brawl in the ''Skylanders'' series. She has also voiced Professor Penelope Young, a minor character original in ''Batman: Arkham Asylum''.''''


Music career

Summer has sung since an early age and joined her first band at 13. In 1985, she recorded the theme song for OWL/TV. 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 (band), Subject to Change. Capitol Records did not officially release the album 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, with the album a moderate success. 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 Zoë Kravitz, daughter of actor Lisa Bonet and rocker Lenny Kravitz. The video was screened online, but the track was never made available commercially, nor was it distributed to the 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. 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-La-La-Labia" and "Crashy Smashy", Numbuh 5 from ''Codename: Kids Next Door'' sang a lullaby to lull babies to sleep. List of Tiny Toon Adventures characters#Elmyra Duff, Elmyra Duff sang many times on ''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. She provided the voice of a recurring pomegranate singer in ''The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange'', who usually sung during montage sequences. Her character Priscilla on ''Sheriff Callie's Wild West'' sings many times, as well. In 2008, Summer appeared on ''The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAA Birthday Bundle'', performing a cover of Zappa's song "Over-Nite Sensation, Dirty Love" with Dweezil Zappa on guitar and backup vocals by Ahmet Zappa, produced by Linda Perry.


Musical influences

Summer's musical influences include Frank Zappa, Al Green and Dinah Washington.


Personal life

Summer is married to Angelo Pullen. The couple have two daughters: Brave Littlewing, born in 2011, and Hero Peregrine, born in 2013. Summer also has a younger brother, Rainbow Sun Francks, a Canadian actor and songwriter who was also an on-air personality at Much Music, Much, a Canadian music video and variety television channel.


Filmography


Animated film roles


Animated series roles


Live-action film roles


Live-action television series roles


Video games


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 (band), Subject to Change) * ''Street Faërie'' – (1999)


Singles

* "Revelation Sunshine"


References


External links

* *
Cree Summer at Behind the Voice Actors
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