October 6, 1965|
|Died||December 14, 2006
|Cause of death||Flash flood|
|Occupation||Audiobook narrator, voice actress, producer|
|Spouse(s)||Charlene Strong (1997–2006; Fleming's death)|
Kathryn Ann "Kate" Fleming (October 6, 1965 – December 14, 2006) 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. 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.
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. 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. She also provided the voice of Princess Daisy in Mario Tennis.
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. 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.
After Fleming's death, the City of Seattle commissioned a report to determine the cause of flash flooding in Fleming's neighborhood. As of 2013, the house where Fleming died had been replaced by a garden, and the city has completed a stormwater project in the neighborhood.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."
- Rourke, Mary (2006-12-24). "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 2007-01-26.
- "Apprentice/Intern Alumni Directory". Actors Theatre of Louisville. Archived from the original on 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Holley, Joe; Jane Horwitz (2006-12-20). "Actress, Voice-Over Artist Kate Fleming, 41; Drowned in Studio During Seattle Flooding". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- "Alumni Q&A: Kate Fleming '87". The William & Mary Alumni Association. 2005-07-01. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Nalder, Eric; Vanessa Ho (2006-12-15). "Flash flood killed Madison Valley woman". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Green, Sara Jean; Sharon Pian Chan; Nancy Bartley; Sanjay Bhatt (2006-12-16). "Audiobook star killed in basement flood". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-12-16.
- Rowe, Claudia (2006-12-18). "Kate Fleming, 1965-2006: Actress a star in the world of audio books". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- Nalder, Eric (2006-12-16). "Halted drainpipe project continues to soak neighborhood". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-12-18.
- Nalder, Eric; Claudia Rowe (2006-12-19). "Fleming's neighbors long complained about drains". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
- Nalder, Eric (2006-12-22). "High volume of water, trouble calls fed tragedy". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
- Strong, Charlene. "Charlene Strong home page". Retrieved 4 June 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.
- Toce, Sarah (2011). "Catching Up with Charlene Strong". Curve. Retrieved 4 June 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 a activist powerhouse.
- CH2M Hill (13 April 2007). "Madison and Mercer/30th Flooding Investigation Findings Report". Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Whitaker, Denise (22 May 2013). "Storm water pond dedicated in memory of woman who drowned". KOMO News. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- (PDF) https://web.archive.org/20130514090428/http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/public/@spu/@drainsew/documents/webcontent/02_030101.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 14, 2013. Missing or empty
- "Madison Valley Stormwater Project". Seattle Public Utilities.
- Cedar House Audio
- AudioFile magazine Golden Voices profile
- An obituary on the lesbian site AfterEllen.com
- Book World Loses Narrator Kate Fleming December 19, 2006, on National Public Radio; Two minutes and 52 seconds. (Windows Media Player, RealPlayer).
- Add your voice to the chorus calling for equality and dignity, Guest column by Charlene Strong, Seattle Times, August 9, 2007.
- In tragedy's wake, an unlikely activist is born, Seattle Gay News, November 16, 2007.