She is perhaps best known for her role as college student "Winifred 'Freddie' Brooks" on the NBC sitcom A Different World. A prolific voice actress, Summer is known for her work on Tiny Toon Adventures, Rugrats, and Drawn Together, among many other titles.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Early life[edit | edit source]
Summer was born in Los Angeles, California in 1969, but grew up on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Canadian actor Don Francks and Canadian 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.
Career[edit | edit source]
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 Black, Native American, and white descent) who wears her hair in a large afro-style, proved to have an appearance as unique as her voice. 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 and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Summer's professional work since has been limited to voice acting.
In all, Summer has voiced over 100 animated characters between 1983 and 2006, many of them African-American girls. These have spanned the realm of video games, cartoon television series, animated films and commercials. Among her most famous roles was in 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!, 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.
Credits[edit | edit source]
Fallout series[edit | edit source]
Other work (excerpt)[edit | edit source]
|1987||A Different World||Winifred "Freddie" Brooks|
|1990||Tiny Toon Adventures||Elmyra Duff|
|2004||Drawn Together||Foxxy Love|
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