Cree Summer, or Cree Summer Francks (born July 7, 1969) is a Canadian / American actor and voice actress. Her father is famed Canadian actor Don Francks, and her mother is Lili Red Eagle, a member of the Plains Cree First Nation. Her brother is former Much Music VJ Rainbow Sun Francks of Stargate Atlantis. She was born in Los Angeles, California, but grew up on an Indian reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada.
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. Summer, a multiracial woman (of Caucasian, Black, and Native American descent) who wears her hair in a large afro-style...