Wanamaker, Sam

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WANAMAKER, SAM (1919–1993), U.S. actor, director, producer. Born in Chicago, Wanamaker attended Drake University and studied acting at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. Despite a rich career in acting and directing, Wanamaker gained his greatest notice for his efforts to build an exact reconstruction of William Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, originally erected and used in the 17th century on the banks of the Thames River. Before his death in 1993, Wanamaker had raised over $10 million for the building, completed in 1997. For this effort, Wanamaker was posthumously awarded the 1994 Society of London Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement. Wanamaker got his start as a stage actor in summer stock productions during the 1930s. From 1943 to 1946, he served in the U.S. armed forces. By the 1950s, he had expanded his talents to directing, including Purple Dust, The World of Sholem Aleichem, and The Three Penny Opera. In Liverpool, he directed and acted at the New Shakespeare Theatre in the plays A View From the Bridge, Tea & Sympathy, Finian's Rainbow, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, King of Hearts, Bus Stop, and The Rose Tattoo. He is well known for his depiction of Iago in Othello. Concurrent with his stage directing and acting, he established a film career in Taras Bulba (1962), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), Death on the Nile (1978), Private Benjamin (1980), The Competition (1980), and Irreconcilable Differences (1984). He began acting in tv in the 1970s, including roles in the tv series Berringer's (1984) and in the award-winning tv drama Holocaust.

[Amy Handelsman (2nd ed.)]