Even casual fans of Gargoyles will remember Hyena as the cackling, gold-plated cybernetic-enhanced, psychopathic sister of Jackal and member of The Pack who has a rather unhealthy interest in machines. And guns. And sharp objects. However, these same fans might not know as much about the woman behind the microphone, or the roles she has since taken since the end of the show. In our inaugural edition of “Where are They Now?” AvMists takes a quick look at the voice that brought Hyena’s terrifying character to life: Cree Summer.
Perhaps the biggest quality that stands out for Cree Summer is that she is a classic “who that” actress. In the same vein of Tracey Walter or Camryn Manheim, Cree has been a consummate method actress in the number of roles and diversity of roles she has performed. With most of the parts she plays coming from animated sources, thus stripping everything but the quality of one’s voice, her presence is sometimes less than obvious...so it might surprise the reader to learn that since Gargoyles ended in 1996, Cree has taken on nearly one hundred different roles.
PERSONAL QUOTE: "I was an only child for 10 years, I didn't start school until 8, and I didn't have a TV for years. So I found all these voices when playing with my toys. They're really my toys' voices. Schizophrenia comes in handy."
While Gargoyles was airing, Cree was also giving what could be arguably her most nationally visible lead role, that of Elmyra Duff from the Tiny Toons/Animaniacs universe, a character as equally nightmarish as Hyena. When Pinky and the Brain became successful enough to have its own spinoff in 1998, Cree was brought in to reprise her role as the precociously violent Duff.
Then there is also Cree’s ongoing role (since 1993) of Susie Carmichael,
one of the older main characters from the Rugrats series and movies. Carmichael
becomes a natural rival to one of the show’s main antagonists, Angelica;
the role is about as far as one can get from Elmyra despite the character's
While the younger generation might know Cree Summer best for the abovementioned roles, she's hardly a mid-ninties phenomena. Long before Gargoyles, one of her first acting roles was as the first-season voice of Penny Gadget, the mystery solving nephew of Inspector Gadget. And in "Peter Pan and the Pirates" (1990) she was Tiger Lily, Indian princess in Neverland. Roles that followed include a lead in the animated series of “Sabrina,” (1999) where she portrayed Chloe, one of Sabrina’s best friends. She voiced Princess Kida in “Atlantis” (2001) in the feature film, the three animated tv episodes that were reworked into a strait-to-dvd animated release, and the video game. In “Batman Beyond” (1999) she played the recurring role of Max Gibson, hacker extraordinaire. In “Codename: Kids Next Door” (2003) Cree was the character best known as #5 or “Numbah 5,”a laidback tomboy who was the current second-in-command (and former leader) of Sector V who had a habit of referring to herself in the third person.
Her most recently well-known animated lead role is also her most adult. In “Drawn Together” (2004) Cree voices Foxxy Love, a parody on 70’s animated sex symbols “Josie and the Pussycats” who is a crime solving musician. As the name suggests this character is quite promiscuous, and (as quoted from the show's website) fulfills the sassy black woman quotient for the show’s overall parody of “The Real World.”
DID YOU KNOW: Cree Summer is not her full name? It’s Cree Summer Francks. She’s the daughter of Don Francks, another “who that” method actor, and the sister of Rainbow Francks, who recently portrayed Lt. Aiden Ford on “Stargate: Atlantis.”
And animated efforts do not strictly refer to the cartoon genre, either. In the hit RPG “Fallout” Cree voiced both a main character, Tandi, and a minor one, Lynette. However, her most famous roles are perhaps in two of the hit RPG series, Final Fantasy. In “Final Fantasy X,” Cree voices Belgemine, a summoner who constantly challenges the player to duels for the purpose of training, and also provides the voice of a much younger Tidus. In “Final Fantasy X-2” she voices Lenne, a singer-summoner who keeps making contact with one of the game’s protagonists, Yuna. Other well known video game appearances include “Freelancer,” “The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning,” “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland,” and “Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance.”
This does not even scratch the surface of the numerous animated series that Cree has had cameos in, such as “W.I.T.C.H.,” "Danny Phantom," “Robot Chicken,” “The Boondocks,” “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “Superman,” “Johnny Bravo,” “Men in Black: The Series,” and “Buzz Lightyear.”......................... next -->
A more comprehensive list of her works can be found here at the Internet Movie Database.
Recently, she voiced Hecate in “Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron,” adding to her already impressive and dizzying array of characters. She is currently working on an animated movie titled “Conan: Red Nails,” which is currently slated to be released sometime in '07.
DID YOU KNOW: Cree Summer is an accomplished musician to go along with her numerous voice acting talents? Check out her album “Street Faerie” (1999), which is a singer-songwriter journey that touches on her Canadian Indian heritage as well as her own spiritual grounding. Lenny Kravitz had a large hand in the production of the album.