Summer Glau

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Summer Glau
Summer Glau by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Glau at the 2019 Phoenix Fan Fusion
Summer Lyn Glau

(1981-07-24) July 24, 1981 (age 40)
Years active2002–present
Val Morrison
(m. 2014)
Summer Glau's signature from 2008.png

Summer Lyn Glau (/ɡl/; born July 24, 1981) is an American actress best known for her roles in science fiction and fantasy television series; as River Tam in Firefly (2002) and its continuation film Serenity (2005), as Tess Doerner in The 4400 (2005–2007), as Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009), as Bennett Halverson in Dollhouse (2009–2010), as Skylar Adams in Alphas (2011–2012) and as Isabel Rochev/Ravager in Arrow (2013–2014).

Early life[edit]

Glau was born in San Antonio, Texas, where she grew up with her two younger sisters Kaitlin and Christie. She is of Scots-Irish and German ancestry.[1] Her mother is a schoolteacher, and her father a general contractor.[2]

Glau received a scholarship to a ballet company and was homeschooled from grades 3 to 12 to accommodate her ballet training.[3] In addition to her classical ballet training, she studied tango and flamenco. After a broken toe ended her dancing career,[3] Glau moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue acting.[citation needed]


Glau at CollectorMania 2005

Glau's first television credit was a guest role as a ballerina on a 2002 episode of the television series Angel. There she caught the eye of director Joss Whedon who later cast her in his critically acclaimed but short-lived TV series Firefly as River Tam, a role she reprised for the show's feature film sequel Serenity. Glau previously auditioned for the role of a Power Ranger (White Wild Force Ranger Alyssa Enrilé) in Power Rangers Wild Force but lost to actress Jessica Rey before meeting Whedon.[4]

Glau appeared on the episode "Love Conquers Al" of the TV series Cold Case. She had a small role in the film Sleepover, in which she played the high school senior Shelly. She also appeared in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?", and season two of The Unit as Crystal Burns (the girlfriend of Jeremy Erhart). In 2006, Glau played Tess Doerner, a paranoid schizophrenic returnee in season two's premiere of The 4400, and became a recurring character from season three onwards. She also starred in the horror comedy film Mammoth. Glau was cast in the ABC Family TV movie The Initiation of Sarah.

Glau at Paradise City Comic Con, December 2016

In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a series that debuted January 13, 2008, Glau played the role of Cameron Phillips, a Terminator infiltration unit sent back to protect John Connor and Sarah Connor from Skynet.[5] The series' seventh episode "The Demon Hand" included several scenes in which Glau (in character as Cameron) dances ballet and, Glau also played Allison Young (Cameron's human doppelgänger) in the episodes "Allison from Palmdale" and "Born to Run". Glau also guest starred as herself in a 2009 episode of the CBS situation comedy The Big Bang Theory.[6]

On August 26, 2009, it was confirmed after much speculation that Glau would be joining the cast of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse for at least two episodes in season two's early part. She portrayed Bennett, the programmer for a rival Dollhouse.[7] On March 12, 2010, it was announced that she would be joining the cast of NBC's The Cape in a leading role.[8] In June 2010, she was confirmed as the female lead in the horror comedy film Knights of Badassdom.[9] On July 11, 2011, Glau was cast on Alphas as Skylar Adams, a recurring alpha and mother to Zoe Adams, and a former acquaintance of Dr. Rosen and Nina.[10] Glau voiced Kara Zor-El in the DC Comics original animated movie Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.[11]

Glau was cast in the recurring role of Miss Jones on the Netflix crime drama series Wu Assassins.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

Glau has been married to Val Morrison since 2014.[14] In January 2015, Glau gave birth to her first daughter.[15] She gave birth to her second daughter in October 2017.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
2004 Sleepover Ticket girl
2005 Serenity River Tam
2006 Mammoth Jack Abernathy Television film (Syfy)
The Initiation of Sarah Lindsey Goodwin Television film (ABC Family)
2010 Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Kara Zor-El/Supergirl (voice) Direct-to-video
Deadly Honeymoon Lindsey Ross Forrest Television film (Lifetime Movies)
2011 The Legend of Hell's Gate: An American Conspiracy Maggie Moon
2012 Help for the Holidays Christine Prancer Television film (Hallmark)
2013 Inside the Box Sophie Short film
Knights of Badassdom[17] Gwen
2015 Dead End Franck's wife & Fugitive Short film


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Angel Prima Ballerina Episode: "Waiting in the Wings"
2002–2003 Firefly River Tam 14 episodes
2003 Cold Case Paige Pratt Episode: "Love Conquers Al"
2004 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Mandy Cooper Episode: "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?"
2005–2007 The 4400 Tess Doerner 8 episodes
2006–2007 The Unit Crystal Burns 7 episodes
2008–2009 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Cameron / Allison Young 31 episodes (as Cameron),
2 episodes (as Allison Young)
2009 The Big Bang Theory Herself Episode: "The Terminator Decoupling"
2009–2010 Dollhouse Bennett Halverson 4 episodes
2010 Chuck Greta Episode: "Chuck Versus the Fear of Death"
2011 The Cape Jamie Fleming / Orwell 10 episodes
2011–2012 Alphas Skylar Adams 4 episodes
2012 Grey's Anatomy Emily Kovach 2 episodes
Scent of the Missing Sedona Pilot
2013 Hawaii Five-0 Maggie Hoapili Episode: "Kekoa"
2013[18] NTSF:SD:SUV:: Olivia Frampton Episode: "Comic-Con Air"
2013–2014 Arrow[19] Isabel Rochev/Ravager 9 episodes
2014 Peter Panzerfaust[20] Wendy (voice)
Sequestered Anna Brandt 12 episodes
2016 Castle Kendall Frost Episode: "The G.D.S."
2019 Wu Assassins Miss Jones (The Water Wu) 2 episodes

Online media[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 R. Tam sessions River Tam 5 short videos
2021 Ctrl Alt Destroy Narrator and all characters Literary RPG podcast

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Production Result
2005 SFX Award Best Actress Serenity Won
2006 SyFy Genre Awards Best Actress/Movie Serenity Nominated[21]
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Serenity Won[22]
2008 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Won (tied with Elizabeth Mitchell)[23]
Scream Award Best Actress in a Science Fiction Movie or TV Show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated[24]
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress: Action Adventure Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Breakout Female Star Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
2009 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Actress: Action Adventure Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated


  1. ^ "Summer Glau – About her career – Interview". April 16, 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  2. ^ "Summer Glau Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Robinson, Tasha (February 24, 2008). "Summer Glau Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  4. ^ Huvane, Chris. "Hot Summer". GQ. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Goldman, Eric (February 8, 2007). "Serenity Comes to Sarah Connor". IGN. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  6. ^ Johnston, Rich (June 11, 2010). "SCOOP! Summer Glau Plays A LARPer In Joe Lynch's Knights Of Badassdom". Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  7. ^ "Official - Summer Glau joins Dollhouse season two!". Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved 2013-07-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  8. ^ Porter, Rick (March 12, 2010). "Summer Glau joins NBC's 'The Cape'". Zap2it. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  9. ^ "'Terminator' Hottie Summer Glau Battles Heavy Metal Demons in 'Knights of Badassdom'!". June 11, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  10. ^ "Alphas – 1×07 – Catch and Release". August 2, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2011.
  11. ^ Sands, Rich (June 28, 2010). "First Look: Summer Glau Takes Off As Supergirl". TV Guide. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  12. ^ Vanne, Chris D. (November 4, 2018). "Summer joins Netflix Sci-Fi drama Wu Assassins". Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  13. ^ Cruz, Rachel (January 17, 2019). "Netflix Martial Arts Drama 'Wu Assassins' Adds Li Jun Li". Business Times. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Joan Allen (2015-04-24). Actress Summer Glau celebrates her marriage and maternity in a new photo shoot (YouTube). Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2019-11-30.
  15. ^ Vanne, Chris D. (January 26, 2015). "Summer and Val Welcome Baby Girl! Congrats to the New Parents!".
  16. ^ Vanne, Chris D. (October 30, 2017). "Summer and Val welcome their second child".
  17. ^ "Movie held hostage: 'Knights of Badassdom'". Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved 2012-09-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "NTSF:SD:SUV – 3.01 Sneak Peek And Synopsis". July 25, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  19. ^ Ng, Philiana (July 10, 2013). "'Arrow' Recruits Summer Glau for Major Season 2 Role". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  20. ^ "PETER PANZERFAUST IS ON THE MOVE". Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  21. ^ "Firefly, Harry Potter Sweep Genre Awards". Airlock Alpha. October 1, 2006. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  22. ^ "Past Saturn Awards: Film Awards: Best Supporting Actress". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  23. ^ "Past Saturn Awards: Television Awards: Best Supporting Actress". Saturn Awards. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  24. ^ "Scream Awards 2008 Nominees". October 15, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2013.

External links[edit]