Here is the full story:
Roger – Here is a wonderful story about Jim Cummings
Last year, about this time, my friends’ five year-old daughter, Ava, developed a brain tumor. One day, while I was visiting Ava in the hospital, she asked me to do the voice of Raymon’, the Cajun firefly in her favorite movie, “The Princess & the Frog.” Ava loved it when I did voices, but I just couldn’t get that one, and she looked at me with a playful contempt that belied her few years.
I kept trying to get the voice right — even buying the DVD of the movie to practice with — but I just couldn’t pull it off. I also couldn’t disappoint Ava.
At imdb, I learned the name of the actor who voiced the part: Jim Cummings. Some online research led me to his agent (well, first his old one, who told me who put me in touch with his new one.)
I spoke to Jim’s agent’s assistant, told him about the wise and wonderful little girl who was going through the fight of her life, and gave him Ava’s parents’ home number, in the hopes that maybe Raymon’ could give Ava a call. I also gave him my cell number, just in case he had any questions.
A few weeks later, with no contact from the agent, I had given up hope of a call, and was visiting Ava at her family’s home — keeping a promise that she could paint my toenails when she got out of the hospital (that was a first for me!) when my phone rang, and guess who was on the line, asking for Ava!?! (You should know, this was the first time I had been in my friends’ house, and that Raymon’ was not supposed to call me, but my friends; I got — and get — goosebumps at the Kismet of it all.)
Ava’s eyes lit up from the inside, just like a firefly’s tail, as Raymon’ talked his Cajun talk and charmed her with his Cajun charm. He then said he had some friends who wanted to talk to Ava, and was replaced by Pooh, and then Tigger. With each new voice, Ava’s smile grew brighter and all our hearts grew lighter (Ava’s dad’s blog about the day can be found here: http://joshuajoelhunter.blogspot.com/2010/08/princess-and-frog.html) [link is active again]
The next day, Ava began to slip, and a month later she was gone, but Jim Cummings gave that little girl, “the best day of my life!” and he did if for without asking for any credit or payback. I can’t think of a better deed. I’m crying now, thinking about it.
If entertainers ever wonder if the work they do is frivolous, or doubt that they can make a difference with their talents, just let them read this story. And if you ever get a chance to talk to Jim Cummings, again, please let him know that my friends and I are forever, forever, forever grateful.