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Zoe Wanamaker

Zoe Wanamaker

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Also Known As: Zo Wanamaker Died:
Born: May 13, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

American-born character player Zoe Wanamaker, daughter of actor-director Sam Wanamaker, moved at the age of three to England, where her father championed the rebuilding of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Not blessed with the cute nose or sensual mouth of the ingenue, she put her "interesting" looks to good service in repertory of the highest possible standard, performing extensively at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, in roles ranging from classical (Viola in "Twelfth Night") to musical comedy (Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"). American audiences cheered her as Toine in "Piaf" (1981) and as Fay in "Loot" (1986), both performances earning her Tony nominations as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. One of Wanamaker's earliest appearances on American TV was as Annemarie Kempf in the NBC miniseries "Inside the Third Reich" (1982), and her British TV series "Paradise Postponed" (1986) aired on "Masterpiece Theatre" (PBS). She became a national favorite in the UK for her continuing role opposite Adam Faith in the BBC-1's "Love Hurts" (1992-1994) and co-starred as the girlfriend of a possible killer in the first installment of the popular "Prime Suspect" series, seen in the...

American-born character player Zoe Wanamaker, daughter of actor-director Sam Wanamaker, moved at the age of three to England, where her father championed the rebuilding of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Not blessed with the cute nose or sensual mouth of the ingenue, she put her "interesting" looks to good service in repertory of the highest possible standard, performing extensively at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, in roles ranging from classical (Viola in "Twelfth Night") to musical comedy (Adelaide in "Guys and Dolls"). American audiences cheered her as Toine in "Piaf" (1981) and as Fay in "Loot" (1986), both performances earning her Tony nominations as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.

One of Wanamaker's earliest appearances on American TV was as Annemarie Kempf in the NBC miniseries "Inside the Third Reich" (1982), and her British TV series "Paradise Postponed" (1986) aired on "Masterpiece Theatre" (PBS). She became a national favorite in the UK for her continuing role opposite Adam Faith in the BBC-1's "Love Hurts" (1992-1994) and co-starred as the girlfriend of a possible killer in the first installment of the popular "Prime Suspect" series, seen in the USA in 1992 on PBS' "Mystery!". Wanamaker then went on to act in three "Masterpiece Theatre" productions, "Memento Mori" (1992), "The Countess Alice" and "The Blackheath Poisonings", as well as in the "Fat Chance" episode of the "Inspector Morse" series on "Mystery!" (all 1993).

Her work for the screen not withstanding, Wanamaker has remained first and foremost a stage actor. She lent her strong persona to a London production of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" and reinterpreted the role of Amanda Wingfield in an acclaimed 1995 revival of "The Glass Menagerie". After collecting three nominations for the Olivier Award, the actress finally took home 1998's honor for Best Actress in a Play as Sophocles' "Electra" (1997). Though her appearances in features have been relatively infrequent, 1997 saw her in two, "Swept From the Sea" and "Wilde", for which she received a BAFTA nomination as a witty member of Oscar Wilde's circle who supported the writer and his family after accusations of gross indecency precipitated his fall from grace. She was also on hand that year for the official opening of the Globe Theatre, delivering a short prologue honoring the realization of her father's lifelong dream. In 2001, Wanamaker played Madame Hooch, the Quidditch referee, in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Swept From the Sea (1997) Mary Foster
3.
 Wilde (1997) Ada Leverson
4.
 Prime Suspect (1992) Moyra Henson
5.
 Ball-Trap on the Cote Sauvage (1989) Sarah Marriot
6.
 Raggedy Rawney, The (1988) Elle
7.
 David Copperfield (2000) Miss Jane Murdstone
8.
 Man Who Saw the Future, The (1999) Commentary
9.
 Macbeth (1993) Voice Of Lady Macbeth
10.
 Blackheath Poisonings, The (1993) Charlotte Collard
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1952:
Moved with her family to England at the age of three (date approximate)
:
Made her professional debut with the Manchester 69 Company (later the Royal Exchange) as Hermia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
:
Performances for the Royal Shakespeare Company included Viola in "Twelfth Night", Adriana in "A Comedy of Errors", Kitty Duval in William Saroyan's "The Time of Your Life" and Kattrin in Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage", among many others
1981:
Nominated for a Featured Actress Tony for her performance as Toine in "Piaf", an RSC production which moved to New York
1982:
Portrayed Annemarie Kempf in ABC miniseries "Inside the Third Reich"
1986:
Acted in Thames TV series "Paradise Postponed"
1986:
Received second Tony nomination playing Fay in "Loot"
1987:
Appeared in NBC miniseries "Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story"
1988:
Starred as May Daniels in London production of Kauffman and Hart's "Once in a Lifetime", taped for PBS' "Great Performances"
1988:
Portrayed Elle in Bob Hoskins' feature "The Raggedy Rawney"
1991:
Co-starred in Granada TV's award-winning four-hour drama "Prime Suspect", featuring Helen Mirren as Det. Chief Insp. Jane Tennison; seen in this country on PBS' "Mystery!"
1992:
Acted in "Masterpiece Theatre" (PBS) performance of "Memento Mori" along with Maggie Smith and Michael Horden
1992:
Starred opposite Adam Faith in BBC-1 series "Love Hurts"; applauded for presenting a careful observation of a forty-something character struggling to combine late motherhood and a career
1993:
Played Connie, middle-aged daughter to Wendy Hiller's Countess Von Holzendorf, in "The Countess Alice" on "Masterpiece Theatre"; also hosted
:
Appeared in a National Theatre production of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"
1993:
Provided voice of Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" for HBO's "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales"
1995:
Appeared as Amanda Wingfield in London stage production of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie"
1997:
Delivered a short prologue before the grand premiere of the Globe Theatre in London
1997:
Portrayed Sophocles' "Electra" on the London Stage
1997:
Acted in two feature films, "Wilde" and "Swept From the Sea"
1997:
Appeared in four-part miniseries "A Dance to the Music of Time", based on the Anthony Powell novel; originally broadcast in the UK on Channel 4
1998:
Reprised "Electra" opposite Claire Bloom at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey and later on Broadway
:
Starred on London stage in "Battle Royal"
2001:
Acted in the British TV series "Adrian Mole: The Cappucino Years"
2001:
Had leading role in the London premiere of David Mamet's play "Boston Marriage"
2001:
Played Madame Hooch in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England -

Notes

Wanamaker is a vice-president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. She became an advocate for assisted suicide after watching her father's demise from terminal cancer. His unsuccessful attempt to take his life by taking an overdose of diamorphine left him in a coma, and though his three daughters talked of smothering him, none of them could go through with it.

She was made an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in December 2000.

Remembering an occasion just weeks before her father's death: "It was raining heavily, yet he insisted on going to the middle of the makeshift stage, and his left arm was in a sling and there was a raincoat over it, and he was carrying a large umbrella. He stood there in silhouette in the sheets of water looking bigger than he was, thanking people for their generosity. It was the most moving thing I can remember, like seeing Moses and Lear in one." --Zoe Wanamaker to the London Times, May 21, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Gawn Grainger. Writer, actor. Married in 1994; she had been friendly with he and his first wife Janet Key who died of cancer.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Sam Wanamaker. Actor, director. Inspiration behind the rebuilding of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London; died after long battle with cancer on December 18, 1993.
mother:
Charlotte Wanamaker. Radio actor. Died of a brain tumor in 1997.
sister:
Abby Wanamaker.
sister:
Jessica Wanamaker. Lawyer. Born c. 1954.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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