Sam Wanamaker dies at 74

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The Independent Online
SAM WANAMAKER, the American actor and director, died at his London home yesterday afternoon, aged 74. He had been suffering from cancer for five years.

Originally a classical actor, Wanamaker's love of Shakespeare led him to devote 24 years of his life to leading a campaign to reconstruct the Globe Playhouse, in which most of the dramatist's works were first performed, near its original site by the Thames. He died with his goal still two years distant: the rebuilt Globe is to open in April, 1995.

During his acting career he appeared in such films as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1966), Death on the Nile (1978), and Guilty by Suspicion (1991), which deals with the work of the US Congressional committee that led the witch-hunt against communists in the early 1950s. Right-wing political pressure caused Wanamaker to leave the US for Britain 48 years ago.

His work as a director includes The Executioner (1970) and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) as well as television series and opera productions in Covent Garden and Sydney.

Wanamaker, who was made an honorary CBE in July, is survived by his wife, Charlotte and daughters Abby, the actress Zoe, and Jessica. Yesterday Jessica said her father had shown great tenacity.

'We knew for a long time that this was happening, but his death is still a shock.'

The actress and Labour MP Glenda Jackson, who supported the Globe project, paid tribute to Wanamaker's devotion to it. 'His passion for Shakespeare was inspirational,' she said.

(Photograph omitted)