Sam Wannamaker was born Samuel Watenmaker was born on June 14, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.. The son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants from Nikolayev, tailor Maurice Wattenmacker (Manus Watmakher) and Molly (Bobele). He was the younger of two brothers, the elder being William Wanamaker, long-term cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Wanamaker trained at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and began working with summer stock theatre companies in Chicago and northern Wisconsin, where he helped build the stage of the Peninsula Players Theatre in 1937.
He made his London debut in 1952. In 1957, he was appointed director of the New Shakespeare Theatre, Liverpool, and in 1959 joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre company at Stratford-upon-Avon. He produced or directed several works at Covent Garden and elsewhere in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations in 1974. He worked both as director and actor in films and television, his appearances included “The Spiral Staircase” (1975), “Private Benjamin” (1980), “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1987), and “Baby Boom” (1987).
Sam directed one Euro-western: “Catlow” (1971) with Yul Brynner, Richard Crenna and Leonard Nimoy.
Wanamaker died from prostate cancer in London England on December 18, 1993.
Today we remember Sam Wannamaker on what would have been his 95th birthday.