Zoë Wanamaker CBE (born 13 May 1949) is an American-born British actress who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. A nine-time Olivier Award nominee, she won for Once in a Lifetime (1979) and Electra (1998). She has also received four Tony Award nominations for her work on Broadway; for Piaf (1981), Loot (1986), Electra (1999), and Awake and Sing! (2006).
Wanamaker in May 2013
|Born||13 May 1949|
Wanamaker's film appearances include Wilde (1997), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), and My Week with Marilyn (2011). She was twice nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, for Prime Suspect (1991) and Love Hurts (1992–94), and starred as Susan Harper in the long-running sitcom My Family (2000–11). She has also appeared in the ITV dramas Agatha Christie's Poirot (2005–13), Mr Selfridge (2015), and Girlfriends (2018).
Zoë Wanamaker was born in New York City on 13 May 1949, the daughter of Canadian actress and radio performer Charlotte Holland and American actor, film director, and radio producer Sam Wanamaker (born Samuel Wattenmacker). Her parents were Jewish, although she had a secular and non-observant upbringing. Her father was of Ukrainian descent; the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?, broadcast on 24 February 2009, revealed that her paternal grandfather Maurice Wanamaker (originally Manus Watmacher) was a tailor from Mykolaiv.
Whilst working in the United Kingdom in 1952, Wanamaker's father found out he had been blacklisted. Her parents therefore decided to remain in England. She was educated at the independent King Alfred School in Hampstead and at Sidcot School, a Quaker boarding school in Somerset. Zoe attended Hornsey College of Art for the Pre-Diploma Course before 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, 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.
Wanamaker appeared in Terence Rattigan's All On Her Own from 24 October 2015 till 13 January 2016 at the Garrick Theatre. The work is a one-woman play that preceded Rattigan's Harlequinade, which she also appeared in, each night as part of a never-before-seen double bill. In 2016 she appeared in the world premiere production of Elegy at the Donmar Warehouse.
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.
Television series have included Paradise Postponed (as Charlotte Fanner-Titmuss, 1986) and Love Hurts (1992–94) with Adam Faith. She appeared with Wendy Hiller in The Countess Alice in 1993, playing a rebellious woman searching for the truth about her past in war-torn Germany.
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.
In 2015, she joined the cast of Mr. Selfridge as Princess Marie, the Russian mother-in-law of Rosalie Selfridge/Bolotoff.
Wanamaker was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2001 New Year Honours for services to drama. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia on 19 July 2012.
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.
In August 2014, Wanamaker was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September's referendum on that issue.
Wanamaker lived for many years with fellow Royal Shakespeare Company actor David Lyon. In November 1994, she married actor/dramatist Gawn Grainger. She has no children. Wanamaker holds both British and American citizenship. She became a British citizen in 2000.
|1988||The Raggedy Rawney||Elle|
|Amy Foster||Mary Foster|||
|2001||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone||Madam Hooch|||
|2004||Five Children and It||Martha|||
|2010||It's a Wonderful Afterlife||Mrs. Goldman|||
|2011||My Week with Marilyn||Paula Strasberg|||
|1971||ITV Sunday Night Drama||Sally||Episode Turn of the Year: Sally for the Keeps|
|Take Three Girls||Jackie|
|1973||Late Night Theatre||Alice||Episode The Eagle has Landed|
|Between the Wars||Ada Abbott||Episode The Silver Mask|
|ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Lorna Green||Episode Lorna and Ted|
|Spy Trap||Muriel||Episode Sale of Work|
|1974||Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill||Pearl Craigie||TV Miniseries (1 episode) A Perfect Darling|
|1975||The Confederacy of Wives||Corinna||TV film|
|Village Hall||Shirley Chatsfield||Episode Miss Health and Beauty|
|Crown Court||Joan Carmichael||1 episode|
|1977||A Christmas Carol||Belle||TV film|
|1978||BBC Play of the Month||Lucille/Dorinda||Danton's Death / The Beaux Strategem|
|The Devil's Crown||Berengaria of Navarre||3 episodes|
|1981||Strike: The Birth of Solidarity||Aline Pienkowska||TV film|
|Inside the Third Reich||Annemarie Kempf|
|1983||Richard III||Lady Anne|
|Enemies of the State||Zdena Tomin|
|1985||Edge of Darkness||Clemmy||TV Miniseries (3 episodes)|
|1986||Paradise Postponed||Charlie Fanner||TV Mini-series (8 episodes)|
|1987||Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story||Jean Kennerly||TV film|
|Tales of The Unexpected||Margaret Smythe||1 episode Skeleton in the Cupboard|
|1988||Once in a Life Time||May Daniels||TV film|
|1989||The Dog It was That Died||Blidebeck|
|Ball-Trap on the Cote Sauvage||Sarah Marriot|
|1990||Theatre Night||Emilia||Episode Othello|
|1991||Inspector Morse||Emma Pickford||Episode Fat Chance|
|Prime Suspect||Moyra Henson||TV Miniseries (2 episodes)|
|1992||Screen Two: Memento Mori||Olive Mannering||TV film|
|Screenplay: The Countess Alice||Connie|
|Shakespeare: The Animated Tales||Lady Macbeth||Episode Macbeth|
|The Blackheath Poisonings||Charlotte Collard||TV Miniseries (3 episodes)|
|1992-94||Love Hurts||Tessa Piggot/Tessa Carver||30 episodes|
|1995||Performance||Mrs Holroyd||Episode The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd|
|The English Wife||Carolina Griveau||TV film|
|1997||A Dance to the Music of Time||Audrey Mclintick||TV mini-series (2 episodes)|
|Great Performances||Prologue/Herself||Episode Henry V at Shakespeare's Globe|
|1999||The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns||Mary Muldoon|
|David Copperfield||Miss Jane Murdstone||TV miniseries|
|2000||Gormenghast||Clarice Groan||TV Mini-Series (3 episodes)|
|2000–11||My Family||Susan Harper||114 episodes|
|2001||Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years||Tania Braithwaite||6 episodes|
|2005||Agatha Christie's Marple||Letitia Blacklock||Episode A Murder is Announced|
|A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets||Countess of Pembroke||TV film|
|2005–13||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Ariadne Oliver||6 feature-length episodes:|
|2005, 2006||Doctor Who||Cassandra||2 episodes: "The End of the World" and "New Earth"|
|2006||Johnny and the Bomb||Mrs Tachyon||2 episodes|
|2007||The Old Curiosity Shop||Mrs Jarley||TV film|
|2013||Wodehouse in Exile||Ethel Wodehouse|
|2015||Mr Selfridge||Princess Marie||10 episodes|
|2017||Babs||Joan Littlewood||TV film|
|2018-present||Britannia||Queen Antedia||Main role|
|2019||Killing Eve||Helen Jacobson||Guest role|
|2012||Fable: the Journey||Theresa|
|1970||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Hermia||University Theatre, Manchester|
|The Cherry Orchard||Anya||Stables Theatre Club, Manchester|
|1971||Pictures in a Bath of Acid||Fanny Falkner||West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds|
|Family Album||Emily Valance|
|Dick Whittington||Tommy the Cat||Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh|
|1972||The Birthday Party||Lulu|
|When Thou Art King||Lady Percy/Doll||Far East Tour|
|Guys and Dolls||Miss Adelaide||University Theatre, Manchester|
|1973||The Provoked Wife||Belinda||Watford Palace Theatre|
|Jack and the Beanstalk||Margery, the Baron's daughter||Cambridge Arts Theatre|
|1974||She Stoops to Conquer||Constance Neville||Tour|
|French Without Tears||Jacqueline Maingot||Tour|
|Cabaret||Sally Bowles||Redgrave Theatre, Farnham|
|Tom Thumb||Princess Huncamunca||The Young Vic|
|Much Ado About Nothing||Hero|
|1975||Kiss Me Kate||Bianca||Oxford Playhouse|
|The Taming of the Shrew||Katherina||Tour|
|The Beggar's Opera||Mrs. Vixen/Lucy Locket||Nottingham Playhouse|
|A Streetcar Named Desire||Stella Kowalski|
|The Servant of Two Masters||Smeraldina|
|The Devil's Disciple||Essie||Aldwych Theatre|
|Ivanov||Babakina, Marfa Yegorovna|
|Wild Oats; or, The Strolling Gentleman||Jane|
|1978||The Taming of the Shrew||Bianca||The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|Captain Swing||Gemma Beech|
|Once in a Lifetime||May Daniels||Aldwych Theatre|
|1981||Piaf||Toine||Plymouth Theatre, New York City|
|1982||The Importance of Being Earnest||Gwendoline||Royal National Theatre|
|1983||The Time of Your Life||Kitty Duval||The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|Twelfth Night||Viola||Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon|
|The Comedy of Errors||Adriana|
|1984||Mother Courage and her Children||Kattrin||Barbican Centre|
|1986||Loot||Fay||Manhattan Theatre Club|
Music Box Theatre, New York City
|The Bay at Nice and Wrecked Eggs||Sophia/Grace||Royal National Theatre|
|1988||Mrs Klein||Paula||Royal National Theatre|
|1989||Othello||Emilia||The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon|
The Young Vic
|1990||The Crucible||Elizabeth Proctor||Royal National Theatre|
|1993||The Last Yankee||Patricia Hamilton||The Young Vic|
|1994||Dead Funny||Eleanor||Hampstead Theatre|
|1995||The Glass Menagerie||Amanda Wingfield||Donmar Warehouse|
McCarter Theatre, Princeton
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City
|1998||The Old Neighbourhood||Jolly||Duke of York's Theatre|
|1999||Battle Royal||Queen Caroline||Royal National Theatre|
|2001||Boston Marriage||Anna||Donmar Warehouse|
|2003||His Girl Friday||Hildy Johnson||Royal National Theatre|
|2006||Awake and Sing!||Bessie||Belasco Theatre, New York City|
|2007||The Rose Tattoo||Serafina del Rose||Royal National Theatre|
|Much Ado About Nothing||Beatrice|
|2010||All My Sons||Kate Keller||Apollo Theatre|
|2011||The Cherry Orchard||Madame Ranevskaya||Royal National Theatre|
|2013||Passion Play||Eleanor||Duke of York’s Theatre|
|2015||All On Her Own and Harlequinade||Rosemary/Dame Maud Gosport||Garrick Theatre|
|2018||The Birthday Party||Meg||Harold Pinter Theatre|
|2019||Two Ladies||Helene||Bridge Theatre|
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 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|||
|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|
|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.
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- Zoë Wanamaker becomes LSN Patron[dead link]
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