Zoë Wanamaker stated, “For me insecurity never disappeared. It’s a good thing to have yourself as a critic, but not to let that critic get in the way,” in an interview for “The Drama Student Magazine’ based out of the UK. Indeed, the actress’ self confessed insecurity has not affected her success as a lauded actress on stage as well as on the screen.
Born in the America, Zoë Wanamaker grew up in England after her father, Sam Wanamaker, landed on the Hollywood blacklist in 1952 and decided to move the family to the UK. Sam Wanamaker is credited for the formation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, an almost modern replica of the original Globe Theatre. His daughter, Zoë Wanamaker would eventually attend Central School for Speech and Drama for three years to build the foundation of what would later be an astounding career in the classics, like Shakespeare, along with modern sitcoms, like Love Hurts.
Wanamaker’s career began on stage. In her first production after attending Central, Wanamaker began in a production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream for Manchester 69 Theatre followed by The Cherry Orchard at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh. Later, she became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1976-1984. Wanamaker received, in 1988, a Best Actress Olivier Award for her portrayal of Electra in Sophocles. She would again repeat later on in her career. In addition, Wanamaker has played Giuseppina Strepponi in the original production of After Aida, and Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Wanamaker has also had success in the field of Broadway, garnering three Tony Award nominations. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in 2008 in Awake and Sing. Another recent stage appearance has been in All My Sons from May 19, 2010 to October 2, 2010 at the Apollo Theatre in London as Kate Keller.
On screen, Zoë Wanamaker would repeat her success in such sitcoms as Love Hurts and My Family. In Love Hurts from 1992-1994, Wanamaker portrayed Tessa Piggott opposite of Adam Faith. Before Love Hurts, Wanamaker was in Paradise Postponed by John Mortimer. In My Family, Wanamaker, collaborating with Robert Lindsay, starred as Susan Harper. In late 2009, My Family had shot a hundred episodes. Wanamaker also starred on screen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US) as Madam Hooch, the flying instructor and referee of Quidditch games at Hogwarts.
In 2000, Wanamaker received the prestigious CBE (Commander for the Order of the British Empire) award from the Queen of England for her contributions to drama. She holds both American and British citizenship because in order to be presented the CBE from the Queen instead of the British Foreign Secretary, Wanamaker had to be a British citizen. Moreover, she has participated in widespread charity work including a stint for Comic Relief in South Africa for Ethiopia’s economic crisis in 1993. She was married to Gawn Grainger in 1994 and has become the stepmother to his two children.
Wanamaker has received acclaim for the variety of her talents along with her dedication for each role and the arts. There is no doubt that, with each continuing role, Zoë Wanamaker will continue to impress and entertain audiences.