Sam Wanamaker, the American actor, producer and director, was responsible more than anyone else for today’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank.
In 1970 he launched the Shakespeare Globe Trust, with the sole intention of creating a replica of the original 16th century open-air theatre. He worked tirelessly on his project, overcoming great swathes of scepticism and all kinds of other obstacles – but in the end he not only raised more than £5 million but he also acquired a prime development site overlooking the Thames.
Unfortunately, Wanamaker never lived to see his dream come true: he died of prostate cancer in 1993, just four years before work was finished and the theatre was opened by the Queen. But Shakespeare's Globe still flourishes today – and were it not for the tenacity of this distinguished American, Britain and the world would be without this utterly exquisite and unique theatre.