2024 NAACP Image Awards: The Characters & Animated Roles That Shaped Cree Summer's Legacy

The queen of voice acting is behind some of this generation’s most iconic animated characters across TV and film.

Cree Summer, the undisputed queen of voice acting, is best known for the many iconic animated characters she’s brought to life over the years. With over 100 credits to her name, the raspy-voiced Daytime Emmy-nominated actress is heralded by many as the voice of this generation’s childhood.

The A Different World alum has been working as an actor since she was 14, with a range that spans animated television and films. To this day, Summer remains pretty active in the TV world; she’s up for Outstanding Character Voice–Over Performance at this year’s “NAACP Image Awards.” Join us as we dive into seven of the actress’ most iconic animated roles that shaped her unique legacy.

  • Penny / Inspector Gadget

    Inspector Gadget, the classic ‘80s cartoon about the adventures of a bionic detective, is where it all started for Summer. She went on a voice audition to try out for the part of Penny, the title character’s niece and snagged the role. From there, her voice acting career took off.

  • Susie Carmichael / Rugrats

    Kids television was never the same after Summer took on the Rugrats role of Susie Carmichael in the early ‘90s. Susie joined the cartoon’s second season after she and her family moved into the neighborhood, becoming fast friends with the Rugrats bunch: Tommy, Chucky, and twins Phil and Lil. To this day, Summer’s iconic character is celebrated as an early representation of Black roles in cartoons.

  • Peabo / The Proud Family

    The seven-time NAACP Image Award nominee voiced the recurring role of Peabo in Disney Channel’s The Proud Family. Her character, the Proud family’s annoying neighbor, often provided much comedic relief for Oscar Proud’s (voiced by Tommy Davidson) shenanigans and Penny’s (voiced by Kyla Pratt).

  • Miranda Killgallen / As Told by Ginger

    In Nickelodeon’s coming-of-age cartoon As Told By Ginger, Summer voiced Miranda Killgallen, best friend to Courtney (Liz Georges), the most popular girl in Ginger’s school. With this character, the voice actress nailed the spoiled teenage girl attitude and added another classic role to her résumé.

  • Numbuh 5 / Codename: Kids Next Door

    Cartoon Network’s Codename: Kids Next Door is undoubtedly one of Summer’s best-known roles. She’s the recognizable voice behind Abigail Lincoln, aka Numbuh 5, in the mysterious Kids Next Door crew. The show follows the adventures of an operative of bumbling 10-year-olds who fight adults and teen villains alike.

  • Princess Kida / Atlantis: The Lost Empire

    In the animated adventure feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Summer voices Princess Kida, who enlists the help of historian Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox) to save her underwater homeland when greedy poachers arrive to destroy it. The memorable role is among Summer’s handful of movie credits.

  • Cleo / Clifford The Big Red Dog

    In both seasons of the PBS Kids cartoon, Summer voiced Cleo, the hyperactive purple poodle who befriends Clifford.

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