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Kim Cattrall Biography

Home > Actresses > C > Cattrall, Kim > Biography

Birth Name: Kim Cattrall
Born: 08/21/1956
Birth Place: Widnes, England, GB

Born outside of Liverpool, England, on Aug. 21, 1956, Cattrall and her family moved to Vancouver, Canada, before she was a year old. Her parents added two more kids to the family (for a total of four) by the time the Cattrall clan returned to England to be near an ailing grandmother. The 11-year-old saw her first play, Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," on London's famed West End and decided then and there to become an actress. She took drama courses at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and around this time, debuted in regional theater. When Cattrall returned to Canada at the age of 16, she continued her studies at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and upon graduating in 1972, headed to New York City, where she had earned a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She made her feature film acting debut for producer-director Otto Preminger in one of the great director's final (if least-admired) films "Rosebud" (1975). Soon after the film's release, she signed a television deal with Universal and was up and running.

Cattrall enjoyed an auspicious start with over a dozen guest spots on 1970s staples like "The Incredible Hulk" (CBS, 1978-1982) and "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981) and several movie(s)-of-the-week. But it was not until 1980 that she landed a truly showy part; that of the young woman hand-picked by Jack Lemmon to bring his stuffy son Robby Benson alive in "Tribute." The teen sex comedy "Porkys" (1982), however, really put Cattrall on the map with her portrayal of a sex-starved coach in what became a classic of an intriguingly awful genre. Two years later, she played a sexy cadet in the blockbuster ensemble comedy "Police Academy" (1984) before reigning in the broad comedies to play an idealistic young public defender and love interest of an anti-establishment prankster (Timothy Hutton) in "Turk 182!" (1985). That same year, Cattrall appeared on stage as Masha in an acclaimed production of "Three Sisters" before going on to make her Broadway debut opposite Ian McKellan in an unsuccessful adaptation of Chekhov's "Wild Honey."

In one of her better dramatic film roles, Cattrall played a sharp lawyer in John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China" (1986), but offset that success by morphing into a department store mannequin brought to life to fulfill the fantasies of a doe-eyed Andrew McCarthy in 1987's "Mannequin." She was excellent as a bitchy socialite in Bob Swaim's stylish thriller "Masquerade" (1988) and enjoyed some notice for her turn as villainous Justine DeWinter in the otherwise uninspired reunion film "The Return of the Musketeers" (1989). Cattrall returned to stage in "The Misanthrope" in 1989 at Chicago's famed Goodman Theatre and appeared as the Park Avenue wife of a New York power broker (Tom Hanks) in the failed adaptation of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990). Following a high-profile role as Mr. Spock's protégé Valeris in "Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country" (1991), the actress' career suffered from a string of low-budget flops that capitalized on her fluency with steamy material. With the exception of the Oliver Stone-produced "Twin Peaks"-style miniseries, "Wild Palms" (ABC, 1993) and the adaptation of Wendy Wasserstein's "The Heidi Chronicles" (TNT, 1995), her increasing appearances in TV movies and miniseries was generally overshadowed by the sharks, aliens, and murderers the plots revolved around.

Cattrall was fresh off of a few straight-to-video features when she was approached by Darren Starr about a stylish new series chronicling four single, professional women in New York City. The newly-40 actress famously rebuffed his offer several times, leery of committing herself to potentially years on one show and hesitant as to whether she could still pull off "femme fatale." It turned out that the role of Samantha Jones was be the best fit that she had found in years, and "Sex and the City" instantly became a pop culture phenomena. Her vampy public relations maven was the most carnally adventurous of the group - which included Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis - and Cattrall brought an exceptionally self-assured performance and natural joie de vivre to her portrayal of the straight-talking socialite. Samantha was easily the show's most outrageous - if sometimes cartoonish - character, which made her integral to the show's comedic success. Her invaluable contribution was recognized with five Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe win during the show's six seasons.

Cattrall's attempts to parlay her new television success into a revived film career were unsuccessful, however. One needed to look no further than then "Baby Geniuses" (1999) to get a whiff of its stink, and only needed to know that "Crossroads" (2002) starred Britney Spears to surmise the quality of that offering. On a lighter note, Cattrall became a sexy spokeswoman for Bacardi and Pepsi and co-authored a sex-tip tome entitled Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm with then-husband Mark Levinson. When HBO retired "Sex and the City" in 2004 - amid unpleasant rumors that Cattrall's clashes with lead actress and producer Parker had something to do with its demise - Cattrall returned to London where she appeared in a revival of Brian Clark's "Whose Life is it Anyway?" and David Mamet's "Cryptogram." In 2008, she revisited her role of Samantha Jones in the highly-anticipated "Sex and the City: The Movie" (2008), following rumors that she had held up the production over salary disagreements. The movie was an enormous success, shattering all box office expectations and proving women could open a movie and bring their female fans flocking en masse to the theaters for a shared experience usually monopolized by sci-fi or action movie fans of the opposite gender.

Cattrall parlayed her increased big screen cachet with a surprising supporting role in Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" (2010) as a hyper-efficient personal assistant with a secret. Singled out in several prominent reviews for her role - for which she used her native English accent - Cattrall stepped right back into her box office Blahniks as Samantha Jones in "Sex and the City 2" (2010). The pop cultural domination by all things "Sex" was perhaps best exemplified by a tween actress Miley Cyrus cameo, battling it out with Cattrall over a red-carpet outfit, proving that the show and Cattrall's character were now permanently entrenched in the global imagination.