Firefly is probably one of the most beloved television shows within the science fiction genre. Created by famous writer and director, Joss Whedon, this American space Western drama has been a cult favorite since its very first episode. It only survived for one season, but fans complained so much that they managed to put out a sequel film to help end the series. One of the lead roles in this fantasy show was led by Summer Glau, a name and face you would probably easily recognize.
Who Is Summer Glau?
Summer Lyn Glau is an American actress famous for her science fiction and fantasy roles. Her most notable role is River Tam in the television show Firefly. The show aired for only one season in 2002, and Glau was 21 years old during the show’s run.
She has been active within the industry since 2002. While Glau was incredibly active on-screen during the 2000s and appeared in many television series and films, she has taken a bit of a break from the limelight over the past five years to focus on her family.
Summer Glau was born on July 24, 1981, in San Antonio, Texas. She has two younger sisters, Kaitlin and Christie. Her mother works as a schoolteacher while her father is a general contractor for homes. She has mixed ancestry of Scottish-Irish and German heritage, although there was some confusion in her early career where fellow actors believed she was of Asian heritage.
Glau was a ballerina for most of her early life and even earned a scholarship to a ballet company. In order to study ballet fully, she was homeschooled from elementary to high school.
Throughout her childhood, she also studied other types of dances as well, such as flamenco and tango. She wanted to become a classically trained ballerina, but at 19 years old she, unfortunately, ended up breaking one of her toes, which consequently ended her ballet career. Instead, she decided to pack up her bags and move to Los Angeles in 2002 to become an actress.
Summer Glau has appeared in numerous television shows and films over her nearly twenty-year career. She is most famous for her science fiction and fantasy roles, specifically her first lead role in the series Firefly and later its continuation film Serenity. She moved to Los Angeles in 2002 and quickly landed her first role, proving her skills as an actress.
Glau’s first appearance on screen was as a ballerina on the television show Angel in 2002. It was there that she caught the eye of writer and director, Joss Whedon. He later decided to cast her in his new series, Firefly, as the character River Tam. At 21 years old, her new series was short-lived and only had one season with fourteen episodes, despite being critically acclaimed and a cult favorite.
In 2005, she reprised the role in the 2005 sequel film, Serenity. She even did almost all of her own stunts for the movie and trained in various martial arts to prepare. She won the SFX Award for Best Actress and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Serenity.
Summer Glau has worked on a wide variety of shows–even if you don’t know her name you will recognize her face as you have most likely seen her in one of your favorite television series. She has appeared in shows such as Cold Case, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Big Bang Theory, Dollhouse, The Cape, Grey’s Anatomy, Arrow, Castle, and Wu Assassins. She was nominated for many awards for her role in Terminator, although she, unfortunately, did not win any.
Although not as prolific as her television appearances, Glau still featured in quite a number of films. She had roles in Sleepover, The Initiation of Sarah, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Help for the Holidays, and Knights of Badassdom. She worked in several other films, mostly television or short films.
In 2014, Summer Glau married Val Morrison, her longtime boyfriend. They keep their lives very private, only rarely sharing snippets of their experiences on Instagram. Their marriage was only discovered after their friend and photographer posted their wedding photos onto her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
They had their first daughter, Milena Jo Morrison, in January 2015. Then in October 2017, Glau gave birth to their second daughter, Sunny Isabou.
Glau took some time away from the camera in order to care for her children and spend time with her family. From 2016 to 2019 she only appeared in two television shows, which had fans desperate for more work from her. In 2019 she took on a role in Netflix’s Wu Assassins, which she will hopefully reappear on and become a regular for. Fans are dutifully waiting for her comeback and eager to see the projects that she works on next.