Kate Fleming

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Kate Fleming
Born(1965-10-06)October 6, 1965
DiedDecember 14, 2006(2006-12-14) (aged 41)
Cause of deathFlash flood
Occupation(s)Actress, artist, singer, audiobook narrator, producer
Years active1993–2006
(m. 1997; her death 2006)

Kathryn Ann Fleming (October 6, 1965 – December 14, 2006)[1] was an American actress, artist, singer, and award-winning audiobook narrator and producer. She was the owner and executive producer at Cedar House Audio, an audio production company specializing in spoken word that is located in Seattle, Washington, United States.


Fleming was born in Arlington, Virginia in 1965. She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1987 (Bachelor of Arts, Religion). Fleming studied at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky, and was an alumna of the 1987/1988 Apprentice Company.[2]

After a stint as a professional actor, she branched into audiobooks in the mid-1990s. Fleming recorded well over 200 titles, many under the stage name Anna Fields.[3]

In 2004, Fleming won the Audie Award for Unabridged Fiction for her performance of Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation. In a July 1, 2005, interview with the William & Mary Alumni Association, Fleming noted several of her favorite narration projects: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates, Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh, and "any title" by Louise Erdrich.[4] In addition to her work on audiobooks, she also narrated the Military Channel's six-episode series Navy Seals, which chronicled the six-month basic training process for US Navy Seals in 2007. Another military-themed narration was for the Discovery Channel documentary Secrets of the Stealth: Nighthawk, on the F-117 Nighthawk, the US Air Force's first stealth plane, and its crucial role in winning the first Gulf War.

Fleming died when a flash flood trapped her inside her Madison Valley basement studio during the Hanukkah Eve wind storm of 2006. She is survived by her wife and partner of nine years, Charlene Strong.[5][6][7][8][9][10] At the hospital, Strong was denied access to see Fleming until permission was granted by an out-of-state relative. The experience led Strong to advocate for legislation that was eventually passed as Washington's Domestic Partnership Law.[11][12]

After Fleming's death, the City of Seattle commissioned a report to determine the cause of flash flooding in Fleming's neighborhood.[13] As of 2013, the house where Fleming died had been replaced by a garden, and the city has completed a stormwater project in the neighborhood. The project features a reservoir capable of holding excess storm runoff when the rest of the system is over capacity. A memorial at the site is inscribed with words that Fleming would say before going on stage as an actress: "Be a light. Be a flame. Be a beacon."[14][15][16]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Hard Candy Teacher Film short
2001 Navy SEALs: BUDS Class 234 Narrator Educational
2006 In the Shadow of the Himalayas: How People Live in Nepal Narrator Educational Short


  1. ^ Rourke, Mary (December 24, 2006). "Kate Fleming, 41; Narrator was a star in the audio book world". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved January 26, 2007.
  2. ^ "Apprentice/Intern Alumni Directory". Actors Theatre of Louisville. Archived from the original on January 25, 2007. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  3. ^ Holley, Joe; Jane Horwitz (December 20, 2006). "Actress, Voice-Over Artist Kate Fleming, 41; Drowned in Studio During Seattle Flooding". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2006.
  4. ^ "Alumni Q&A: Kate Fleming '87". The William & Mary Alumni Association. July 1, 2005. Archived from the original on November 1, 2005. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  5. ^ Nalder, Eric; Vanessa Ho (December 15, 2006). "Flash flood killed Madison Valley woman". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  6. ^ Green, Sara Jean; Sharon Pian Chan; Nancy Bartley; Sanjay Bhatt (December 16, 2006). "Audiobook star killed in basement flood". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on January 6, 2007. Retrieved December 16, 2006.
  7. ^ Rowe, Claudia (December 18, 2006). "Kate Fleming, 1965-2006: Actress a star in the world of audio books". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  8. ^ Nalder, Eric (December 16, 2006). "Halted drainpipe project continues to soak neighborhood". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  9. ^ Nalder, Eric; Claudia Rowe (December 19, 2006). "Fleming's neighbors long complained about drains". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 19, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Nalder, Eric (December 22, 2006). "High volume of water, trouble calls fed tragedy". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved December 22, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Strong, Charlene. "Charlene Strong home page". Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013. [Strong] became an advocate for equality following the loss of her wife, Kate Fleming (a renowned audio book narrator), in a flash flood in Seattle in 2006. At the hospital Charlene was initially denied access to be with Kate in the moments before she died. This discrimination led Charlene to help champion legislation that later became Washington State's Domestic Partnership Law. Charlene's advocacy for equality has led her to The White House where she was invited to have a private meeting with President Obama and other dignitaries to discuss marriage equality. Charlene has taken her personal tragedy and created a life mission to advocate for equality and social justice issues.
  12. ^ Toce, Sarah (2011). "Catching Up with Charlene Strong". Curve. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2013. In 2006 Fleming was trapped by a flash flood in their home's basement—despite the efforts of both Strong and the emergency firemen called to the scene. But it was what followed at the hospital, when Strong was denied access to her dying wife until she was given permission by an out of state relative, that turned Strong, then a dental office manager, into an activist powerhouse.
  13. ^ CH2M Hill (April 13, 2007). "Madison and Mercer/30th Flooding Investigation Findings Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  14. ^ Whitaker, Denise (May 22, 2013). "Storm water pond dedicated in memory of woman who drowned". KOMO News. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  15. ^ "Project Complete: The Madison Valley Stormwater Project Team Thanks You!" (PDF). Seattle Public Utilities. February 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2013.
  16. ^ "Madison Valley Stormwater Project". Seattle Public Utilities.

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