Image of the Liverpool Cathedral

Kim Cattrall

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Honorable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Kim Cattrall for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.

Liverpool born Kim Cattrall is widely admired for her exceptional performances over many years on television, in films and on the stage. Perhaps best known as the stand-out star of the ground-breaking and hugely successful television series Sex and the City, she has also been greatly acclaimed for her work in her preferred medium, the theatre. 

Kim Victoria Cattrall was born in 1956 in Liverpool's Mossley Hill district, the daughter of Dennis and Shane - her proud mother Shane is present today along with other members of the family, and friends. When she was three months old, the family emigrated to Canada, eventually settling on Vancouver Island. At school Kim had her first dramatic role and found that she loved making people laugh. 

When she was 11, she returned to Liverpool to stay with her great aunt Mai Bradbury in Wavertree and was enrolled at St Edmund's College for Girls in Princes Park.

During her time in England, Kim discovered how much she loved acting - she took part in a production of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan in Liverpool, went to Liverpool Playhouse with her Aunt Mai and saw her first play in the West End - Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest - and took lessons at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, passing with Distinction. She also made many friends in Liverpool which she remembers as a big, exciting city. 

But after 18 months, she returned to Vancouver. Back in Canada, Kim took a summer programme at the Banff School of Fine Arts and then won a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. During her final year there, she won a part in Otto Preminger's Rosebud alongside Peter O'Toole and Richard Attenborough. In 1976, she relocated to Los Angeles where she gained experience with parts in The Incredible Hulk, Charlie's Angels, and the mini-series Scruples

In 1980 she starred opposite Jack Lemmon in the Oscar-nominated Tribute, and the following year there came one of her favourite films Ticket to Heaven for which she was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Her next big break was in the hit comedy Porky's and other successful comedies followed, including Police Academy in 1984 and Mannequin in 1988, while in 1991 she joined Captain Kirk and crew in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - for which she received a Saturn nomination for best supporting actress.  

The 1990s was another busy decade for Kim, and it was in 1998 that she was offered the memorable role of PR Executive Samantha Jones in the hit series Sex And The City. Kim refused the offer several times before accepting the best role she'd found in years. Her character Samantha is the adventurous, charismatic, man-eating femme fatale who, as one journalist delicately put it, was on an expedition to the outer reaches of her own libido. Kim's performance was exceptionally self-assured and full of joie de vivre, helping to establish her as essential to the show's success. In other words, she was the funniest and the best actress in the series, ultimately winning five Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards.  

In 2008, she revisited her role of Samantha Jones in the highly successful Sex and the City: The Movie, and the much-anticipated sequel premiered in May will no doubt be a huge box-office success. Kim also stars in Roman Polanski's political thriller The Ghost, released earlier this year to positive reviews. 

Alongside working in film and television, Kim has been very active in her first love, the theatre, giving many seminal performances in many critically acclaimed productions. She made her Broadway debut opposite Ian McKellern in the National Theatre's production of Chekhov's Wild Honey. She has also starred in Moliere's The Misanthrope, Strindberg's Miss Julie, Chekhov's Three Sister's, and Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge

In 2005, Kim returned to London where she won Theatre Actress of the Year for her performance in a revival of Brian Clark's Whose Life is it Anyway? She received rave reviews for her role in David Mamet's Cryptogram and recently was acclaimed for her portrayal of Amanda in Noël Coward's comedy, Private Lives

But topping everything is Kim's decision to appear in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra in the city of her birth. She is set to to return to Liverpool to perform at the Liverpool Playhouse in October, a homecoming which fulfils a dream for her. Box office records have already been broken and such is the international appeal of Kim that theatre staff have reported interest from all over the UK, as well as the United States, Canada and Germany.  

Awards and honours not mentioned so far include: The Lucy Award for Women in Film in 1999, A Glammy Award at the British Glamour magazine's Women of the Year Awards in 2005, NBC's Universal Award of Distinction at the Banff World Television Festival in 2008.

The expression, you can take the girl out of Liverpool but you can't take Liverpool out of the girl was never more true than when applied to Kim Cattrall. 

Fuelled by warm memories of her childhood stay in Liverpool, she holds a deep affection for the city and its people; she loves the humour, she loves the accent, and her heart soars when she sees the skyline. She has made regular visits to see her family, and recently came to the city to film the BBC1 series Who Do You Think You Are? 

She is also a patron of the Fact Cinema which partners with our Liverpool Screen School. She says she is proud to be a Scouser and you know she means it. Away from acting, Kim is passionate about short-story writing, loves browsing in bookshops, is a keen skier, finds art galleries therapeutic and despite her youth, has become an effective campaigner for senior citizens. 

There is much to admire about her life, her progression from relatively humble beginnings in Liverpool, her unquenchable optimism, and her determination to overcome obstacles, ultimately becoming an internationally acclaimed actress - and a source of inspiration for so many people. 

Today, we are delighted to honour this proud Liverpudlian for her outstanding and sustained contributions to the dramatic arts.  

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Kim Cattrall, this most distinguished daughter of Liverpool, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.