A popular screen figure of the 1980s and '90s whose casting in HBO's runaway hit series Sex and the City provided her career with a solid second wind, Emmy-winning actress Kim Cattrall has endured to prove that older women can retain their sexuality and femininity while simultaneously maintaining a vital screen presence. Born in Liverpool, England, Cattrall's parents immigrated the family to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, when the future actress was three years old. After returning to England at age 11 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Cattrall finished high school in Vancouver, and at age 16 struck out on her own after winning a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
Though director Otto Preminger would sign Cattrall to a five-year contract and give the actress her film debut in Rosebud (1975), Universal would soon step in to buy out her contract, making Cattrall one of the last actors to participate in the now defunct Universal Contract Player System. Following with television appearances in Starskey and Hutch and Charlie's Angels, and turning up in such features as Deadly Harvest (1977), it appeared as if good things were in store for Cattrall in the future. The dawn of the 1980s found Cattrall's star ascending in such features as Porky's (1981), and with the release of Police Academy in 1984 her face was becoming a familiar one to film and television audiences.
Following up with such typically '80s fare as Turk 182! (1985), Cattrall essayed the role of the green-eyed girl whose fate was questionable in John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China (1986), the year before her most famous (until Sex and the City of course) role in Mannequin (1987). Essentially a typical '80s throwaway comedy, Cattrall's effervescent presence, combined with Starship's catchy title tune "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," gave the film such a boost that it even spawned a Cattrall-less sequel. It was following Mannequin that Cattrall's career began to stall in the wake of such instantly forgettable films as Honeymoon Academy (1990) and the Gary Busey actioner Breaking Point (1993), though her role in 1995's Live Nude Girls proved a curious precursor to her role on Sex and the City.
A frank and funny HBO series based on the writings of New York Observer columnist Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City gave Cattrall a chance to shine as a lusty an unabashedly sexual PR executive whose confidence in the bedroom rivals only her confidence in the boardroom. A runaway hit that's popularity only grew as the show entered is sixth season, Sex and the City once again made Cattrall a household name as it influenced everything from fashion to the drinks of the New York scene. Cattrall's character made her a bigger pop culture icon than ever, and she would stick with the franchise throughout its spin-off movies, while also appearing in feature films like Ice Princess and The Ghost Writer.