Spencer Grammer is an American actor, best known as the voice of ‘Summer Smith’ from the animated series ‘Rick and Morty.’ Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Spencer is the daughter of actor Kelsey Grammer. Her father was a well-known actor and director in his time. Spencer, too, grew up as an artistic child. After graduating high school, Spencer attended ‘Marymount Manhattan College’ and studied art history. After graduation, she followed in her father’s footsteps and started doing theater. Much earlier, she had already made her acting debut with a small role in the 1992 series ‘Cheers.’ Upon growing up, she made her acting breakthrough with the 2004 series ‘Clubhouse.’ In 2006, she made her feature film debut with the film ‘Beautiful Ohio.’ Mostly appearing in low-budget independent films, she found better roles on TV. In 2007, she appeared in the lead role in the series ‘Greek’ and then appeared in another leading role, in the 2013 series ‘Ironside’. However, her voice role as ‘Summer Smith’ in ‘Adult Swim’s animated series ‘Rick and Morty’ is considered to be the best stint of her career so far.
Childhood & Early Life
Spencer Karen Grammer was born on October 9, 1983, in Los Angeles, California, into an affluent family. She was named after one of her aunts, Karen, who was ruthlessly raped and murdered 8 years before Spencer’s birth. Her father, Kelsey Grammer, is a popular American actor and director. Her mother, Doreen Alderman, worked as a dance instructor.
Kelsey has married four times to date. Doreen, Spencer’s biological mother, was his first wife. Soon after Spencer’s birth, Kelsey and Doreen started getting into fights. They separated when she was 2 years old. Her parents stayed separated for 6 years before eventually getting divorced in 1990. Following this, her father remarried. This had a huge impact on her psyche.
From her father’s other marriages, she had three half-sisters and three half-brothers. Spencer also had a half-sister named Madison from her mother’s other marriage.
Spencer grew up as an introverted child. She was also artistic and behaved a bit differently than the other students of her age in school. She grew up wanting to become a zoologist. However, her plans changed around her middle-school years, when she started developing an interest in acting.
She had developed a taste for films as a teenager. ‘Annie Hall’ was one of the films she watched as a teenager, and it had a strong influence on her. She attended the ‘Los Angeles County High School for Arts’ to hone her artistic skills.
Following her high-school graduation, she chose to continue with art studies and joined the ‘Marymount Manhattan College’ to study art history. Her passion for performing arts had her doing theater soon after her graduation.
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Spencer Grammer had already made her on-screen debut when she was a child. In 1992, she had appeared in the series ‘Cheers,’ playing an unnamed little girl in the episode ‘One Hugs, the Other Doesn’t.’ Following this, she stayed away from acting on screen and focused on her theater skills instead.
She made a comeback as an adult in the 2004 series ‘Clubhouse’ and played the role of ‘Sheila’ in its pilot episode. She also appeared in two other episodes, titled ‘Chin Music’ and ‘Road Trip,’ but the series was ill-fated and never became successful.
In 2005, she was selected to play a pivotal part in the series ‘Jonny Zero.’ It met more or less the same fate as her debut series. It was canceled after eight episodes. Spencer had appeared in the pilot episode of the series.
The same year, she appeared in the crime drama ‘Third Watch’ and played the role of ‘Kimmie Haynes’ in one of its episodes, titled ‘Kingpin Rising.’ Back then, she was unknown in the industry and wanted to leave a mark. She soon turned to doing short films. In 2006, she played the lead role of ‘Prudence’ in the short film ‘The Path of Most Resistance.’
In 2006, she was offered a small role in the coming-of-age comedy–drama film ‘Beautiful Ohio.’ The small-budget film remained largely anonymous and failed to leave an impact at the box office. The same year, she appeared in single-episode roles in the series ‘The Bedford Diaries’ and ‘Six Degrees.’
She was also offered a pivotal role in the soap opera ‘As the World Turns.’ It was one of the longest-running soap operas in the history of American TV. She played the role of ‘Dr. Lucy Montgomery’ in the soap, from May 2006. After 6 months, Spencer was allowed to leave the show and her character was written off. She made her last appearance on the show in December 2006.
In 2007, she played a small role in the thriller ‘Descent.’ The independent film premiered at the ‘Tribeca Film Festival’ but failed to impress its audiences and critics when it was released in the US.
2007 turned out to be a great year for Spencer, as she was offered the lead role in the series ‘Greek.’ The comedy–drama series began airing in July 2007 and featured Spencer as ‘Casey Cartwright.’ Her role was that of a college girl, completely clueless about her future, stuck in a love triangle.
The series received mixed reviews from critics and was well-received by most viewers. It was also nominated for the ‘GLAAD Award’ for ‘Outstanding Drama Series’ in 2008 and for ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ in 2009 and 2010. The series ran for four successful seasons and revived the troubled career of Spencer.
In 2011, she played the key role of ‘Jill’ in the independent film ‘Missing William.’ Over the next few years, she appeared in independent films such as ‘In the Lieu of Flowers,’ ‘Roommate Wanted,’ ‘Beyond Paradise,’ and ‘Boone the Bounty Hunter.’
She was also featured in guest roles in ‘CSI: NY’ and ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.’ In 2013, she played one of the key roles in the series ‘Ironside,’ which was a remake of another series of the same name. However, the series failed to impress its viewers or critics and was a failure. Only four episodes of the series were aired before it was canceled.
Since 2013, she has been playing the voice role of ‘Summer Smith’ in the ‘Adult Swim’ animated science-fiction comedy series ‘Rick and Morty.’ The series became extremely popular for its black comedy and its humorous portrayal of complex scientific theories. It later became a widespread pop culture phenomenon.
In 2015, she appeared in a major supporting role in the sitcom ‘Mr. Robinson.’ However, this series also met the same fate as many of her previous series and was canceled even before the entire first season was aired.
Spencer continued making guest appearances in series such as ‘Scorpion,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ and ‘Tell Me a Story.’
Spencer is extremely fond of animals. She owns two cats, a dog, and other animals. She once owned an alpaca, too.
She got married to James Hesketh in February 2011. She gave birth to her son, Emmett Emmanual Hesketh, in October that year. James filed for divorce in 2017.
Spencer is a liberal in terms of political ideologies and has been openly critical of Donald Trump. She also supports the LGBTQ cause and campaigns for ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) online.