13 May 1949 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
Zoë Wanamaker, CBE (born 13 May 1949) is an American-born British actress. She has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company; in films, including the Harry Potter series; and in a number of television productions, including a long-time role as Susan Harper in the sitcom My Family. Wanamaker has been nominated for a BAFTA Film Award, two BAFTA TV Awards, Four Tony's and nine Olivier Awards, winning two.
Early life and family
Wanamaker was born in New York City, the daughter of Canadian-born actress and radio performer Charlotte Holland, and American-born actor, film director and radio producer Sam Wanamaker, who decided not to return to the United States after being blacklisted in 1952. Her parents were Jewish, although she had a non-religious and non-observant upbringing. Her father's family was of Ukrainian extraction.
The BBC documentary Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast on 24 February 2009, revealed that Wanamaker's paternal grandfather Maurice Wanamaker (originally Manus Watmacher) was a tailor (born 1895) in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. She was educated at the independent King Alfred School in Hampstead and at Sidcot School, a Quaker boarding school in Somerset. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Wanamaker's career started in the theatre. From 1976 to 1984 she was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She won an Olivier Award for her 1979 performance in Once In a Lifetime and a second for Sophocles' Electra in 1998. In 1985, she played Verdi's wife Giuseppina Strepponi in the original production of After Aida. She appeared on stage playing the part of Beatrice opposite Simon Russell Beale as Benedick in the National Theatre's production of Much Ado About Nothing. She has received Tony Award nominations for her performances in Piaf, Loot, Electra, and Awake and Sing!.
In 1997, Zoe Wanamaker was the first person to speak on the stage of the newly completed replica theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, on London's South Bank. This was in recognition of the role played by her father in founding the new theatre. She subsequently became Honorary President of the Globe.
Starting in the early 1980s, Wanamaker began performing on screen, most notably in a number of critically acclaimed television productions, such as the BBC Television production Edge of Darkness; she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for her portrayal of the love interest of a suspected serial killer in the first instalment of the Granada series Prime Suspect.
She voiced a CGI character named Lady Cassandra in the Doctor Who episode "The End of the World" (2005), and reprised the role (also appearing in the flesh this time) in the episode "New Earth" (2006).
Wanamaker lent her voice to the 2008 Xbox 360 game Fable II as the blind Seeress Theresa, who guides the playing character throughout the game. She returned to voice Theresa again in Fable III in 2010, and again in 2012 for Fable: The Journey.
Wanamaker’s most recent role was in the Australian Film "We of the Outback" (2013) where she played the role of Sheila Williams, the wife of Australian Bush Legend R M Williams, (played by Brett Hinch). The film won many AFI awards with Wanamaker being awarded the Best Actress title and Hinch Best Actor.
Zoë Wanamaker holds both British and American citizenship. She became a British citizen in 2000.
Wanamaker has been a Patron of the UK charity Tree Aid, since 1997. Tree Aid enables communities in Africa's drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant, while improving the environment. In 2006 Wanamaker recorded a successful Radio 4 appeal for the charity.
She is a patron of Dignity in Dying, the Lymphoedema Support Network, Youth Music Theatre: UK and of the Young Actors' Theatre, Islington. She is also one of the Honorary Patrons of the London children's charity Scene & Heard. Wanamaker also supports Survival International's campaign to save the threatened native tribes in Brazil.
- Between the Wars (1973) (TV)
- Spy Trap (1973) (TV)
- Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill (1974) (TV)
- The Confederacy of Wives (1975) (TV)
- Village Hall (1975) (TV)
- Crown Court (1975) (TV)
- A Christmas Carol (1977) (TV)
- BBC Play of the Month (1978) (TV)
- The Devil's Crown (1978) (TV)
- Strike: The Birth of Solidarity (1981) (TV)
- Baal (1982) (TV)
- Inside the Third Reich (1982) (TV)
- The Tragedy of Richard III (1983) (TV)
- Edge of Darkness (1985) (TV)
- Paradise Postponed (1985) (TV)
- Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (1987) (TV)
- Tales of the Unexpected (1987) (TV)
- The Raggedy Rawney (1988) (TV)
- The Dog It Was That Died (1989) (TV film)
- Ball-Trap on the Cote Sauvage (1989) (TV)
- Othello (1990) (TV)
- Theatre Night (1990) (TV)
- Inspector Morse (1991) (TV)
- Prime Suspect (1991) (TV)
- The Blackheath Poisonings (1992) (TV)
- Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (1992) (TV)
- Memento Mori (1992) (TV)
- The Countess Alice (1993) (TV)
- Love Hurts (1992–94) (TV)
- Performance (1995) (TV)
- The English Wife (1995) (TV)
- Wilde (1997)
- Swept from the Sea (1997)
- A Dance to the Music of Time (1997)
- Creatures Fantastic (1997)
- The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1998)
- Norman Ormal: A Very Political Turtle (1998) (TV)
- David Copperfield (1999) (TV)
- Gormenghast (2000) (TV)
- My Family (2000–2011) (TV)
- Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (2001) (TV)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)
- The Dark (2001) (animation, short)
- Five Children and It (2004)
- Britain's Best Sitcom (2004) (TV) (narrator)
- Agatha Christie's Marple: A Murder is Announced (2005) (TV)
- Doctor Who: "The End of the World" (2005) and "New Earth" (2006)
- Agatha Christie's Poirot - 6 episodes: Cards on the Table (2005), Mrs McGinty's Dead (2008), Third Girl (2008), Hallowe'en Party (2010), Elephants Can Remember (2013) and Dead Man's Folly (2013) (TV)
- A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets (2005) (TV)
- Johnny and the Bomb (2006)
- The Old Curiosity Shop (2007) (TV)
- It's a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)
- My Week with Marilyn (2011)
- Dirty Britain (2012) ITV (narrator)
- Wodehouse In Exile (2013) BBC TV
- The Devil's Disciple, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1976
- Wild Oats, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1976
- Ivanov, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1976
- The Taming of the Shrew, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1978
- Captain Swing, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1978
- Piaf, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1978
- Once in a Lifetime, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1979
- Piaf, Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1981
- The Importance of Being Earnest, National Theatre, London, 1982
- Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1983
- The Time of Your Life, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1983
- The Comedy of Errors, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1983
- Mother Courage, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1984
- Loot, Manhattan Theatre Club, then Music Box Theatre, both New York City, 1986
- The Bay at Nice and Wrecked Eggs, National Theatre, London, 1986
- Mrs Klein, National Theatre, 1988, then Apollo Theatre, both London, 1989
- Othello, Royal Shakespeare Company, 1989
- The Crucible, National Theatre, London, 1990
- The Last Yankee, Young Vic, London, 1993
- Dead Funny, Hampstead Theatre, then Vaudeville Theatre, both London, 1994
- The Glass Menagerie, Donmar Warehouse, then Comedy Theatre, both London, 1995
- Sylvia, Apollo Theatre, London, 1996
- Electra, Chichester Festival and Donmar Warehouse, London, 1997, then McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ, and Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1998
- The Old Neighbourhood, Royal Court Theatre, London, 1998
- Battle Royal, National Theatre, London, 1999
- Boston Marriage, Donmar Warehouse, then New Ambassadors Theatre, both London, 2001
- His Girl Friday, National Theatre, London, 2003
- Awake and Sing!, Belasco Theatre, New York City, 2006
- The Rose Tattoo, National Theatre, London, 2007
- Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre, London, 2007
- All My Sons, Apollo Theatre, London, 2010
- The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre, London, 2011
- Passion Play, Duke of York's Theatre, London, 2013
- Stevie, Chichester Festival, 2014
Awards and nominations
- For her stage work, Wanamaker has been nominated four times for the United States' most prestigious theatre award the Tony and nine times for the most prestigious British theatre award the Olivier, winning two.
- For her screen work, Wanamaker has received three BAFTA nominations.
year given is year of ceremony
|1979||Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Revival||Once in a Lifetime||Won|||
|1981||Tony Award||Best Featured in a Play||Piaf!||Nominated|||
|1981||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Piaf!||Nominated|
|1984||Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Revival||Twelfth Night||Nominated|||
|1984||Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||The Time of Your Life||Nominated|
|1985||Olivier Award||Best Performance in a Supporting Role||Mother Courage||Nominated|||
|1986||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Loot||Nominated|
|1986||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Loot||Nominated|
|1989/90||Olivier Award||Best Performance in a Supporting Role||Othello||Nominated|||
|1991||Olivier Award||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||The Crucible||Nominated|||
|1992||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Prime Suspect||Nominated|||
|1993||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Love Hurts||Nominated|
|1996||Olivier Award||Best Actress||The Glass Menagerie||Nominated|||
|1998||BAFTA Film Award||Best Supporting Actress||Wilde||Nominated|
|1998||Olivier Award||Best Actress||Electra||Won|||
|1999||Tony Award||Best Actress in a Play||Electra||Nominated|
|1999||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actress in a Play||Electra||Nominated|
|2002||Olivier Award||Best Actress||Boston Marriage||Nominated|||
|2006||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Awake and Sing!||Nominated|
- In 2006, Wanamaker and the rest of the cast of Awake and Sing! won a special Drama Desk award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.
- "Biography". Zoë Wanamaker Official Website. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "Zoë Wanamaker". Front Row. 2 May 2013. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s4szj. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Zoe Wanamaker profile, FilmReference.com; accessed 10 January 2014.
- "'Madam Hooch' rides her broomstick in from Odessa: Actress Zoë Wanamaker offers a glimpse into her family history"
- Who's Who on Television (1982 edition).
- Michael Coveney (26 June 2013). "David Lyon obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1979". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1998". Olivier Awards.
- BBC Entertainment: My Family – Did You Know?
- Shakespeare's Globe Press Release, 24 February 2012
- Billington, Michael (28 May 2010). "All My Sons, Apollo, London". The Guardian.
- "Prime Suspect I". Zoë Wanamaker Official Website. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Lewis, Tim (5 May 2013). "Zoë Wanamaker: 'Acting is a vicious business, it can be very humiliating'". The Observer. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- University of East Anglia website
- Tree Aid web site
- Zoë Wanamaker becomes LSN Patron
- "Scene & Heard – Who We Are". sceneandheard.org. 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1984". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1985". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1989/90". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1991". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 1996". Olivier Awards.
- "Previous Winners: Olivier Winners 2002". Olivier Awards.
- Zoë Wanamaker at the Internet Movie Database
- Zoë Wanamaker at the Internet Broadway Database
- Natasha Lehrer, Biography of Zoë Wanamaker, Jewish Women Encyclopedia
- Controversy over payment for Harry Potter film Guardian Unlimited article
- Zoë Wanamaker – Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org
- Actors On Performing Working in the Theatre seminar video at American Theatre Wing, April 2006
- Zoe Wanamaker interviewed by Beth Stevens about Awake and Sing! on Broadway.com
- Zoe Wanamaker demands equal pay for actresses – Telegraph