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e-Briefing | Celebrity Setup

The Lady Knows What She Likes

'Sex and the City' star takes care of business on a Mac and says she prefers a big screen for watching films.

January 24, 2002

Kim Cattrall plays the unabashedly sexual Samantha Jones on the "Sex and the City" cable television series, and in a case of life imitating TV, she has co-written a book, "Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm," which hits bookstores today.

Cattrall was not well known as an actress before the HBO show became a hit, but her career goes back to 1975 when she debuted in "Rosebud," one of the last films directed by Otto Preminger. She went on to play the gym teacher in "Porky's," a Vulcan in "Star Trek VI" and parts in "Police Academy" and "Bonfire of the Vanities."

She lives in New York and on Long Island with her husband, Mark Levinson, co-author of "Satisfaction."

COMPUTER: A PowerBook G3. My husband actually bought it for me in 1998 and didn't tell me. I didn't think I needed a new computer, so he just got it. Now it travels with me everywhere.

I've always had Macintoshes. I feel lost on IBMs, it's like it's another language.

I use it all the time for e-mail and to go on the Web, especially for medical reasons.

Question: To do research?

Answer: I was diagnosed with having Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, a condition that is apparently fairly common, but I had never heard of it.

When I thought of thyroid problems, I thought of goiters or hyperactiveness or poppy eyes. But after looking for information on it on the Web, I saw that it was an autoimmune problem that makes you tired and can lead to depression.

It was really a revelation for me. I had gone on the Web for advice on diet and exercise routines, but then I discovered how valuable it was for medical feedback.

Sometimes when you are in a doctor's office, it's hard to have a conversation about a condition, to ask everything you mean to ask, to know the topic well enough to ask specific questions. On the Web, you can take your time and look for just what you want to know.

Q: Did it affect your relationship with your doctor?

A: It gave me the knowledge to go to my doctor and say that I was not interested just in the T3 and T4 (both are thyroid hormone measurements), but also that I wanted to find out how the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is doing. I would also be able to talk about different test laboratories, and the fact that they differ in what they call "normal" or "low" or "high" in their ratings.

Another thing you get from the Web is that you find out you are not alone. There would be all these postings--you would read each other's messages and realize there were people going through the same thing.

Q: Did people realize your postings were from the actress on "Sex and the City"?

A: No, I used my married name. I didn't want it to be about celebrity, I wanted it to be about the condition.

Q: How are you doing?

A: Great. We found the medication that works for me. It's funny because I try to eat organic foods as much as possible, but the medication that worked for me is a synthetic.

Q: The e-mail is for business?

A: Mostly. My agent, lawyer, publicist and accountant are all on the West Coast because I lived in California for about 22 years and put down major roots there. If it wasn't for e-mail, I'm not sure I could stay in touch with them enough, but now you can be anywhere.

I e-mail my family, too. Most of them don't have answering machines.

Q: They have computers but not answering machines?

A: My sister and brother-in-law live on Vancouver Island; she is a school teacher and he is a surveyor. At the end of a long day, if they miss a call it's OK. Someone will call back.

HAND-HELD: I have the PalmV, I use it every day. I had a Filofax for 18 years and it's still my comfort contact list, but it does not fit into a lot of the purses I own. It certainly does not fit into anything resembling an evening purse.

BOOKMARKS: For the medical condition, I would go to the About.com thyroid disease forum and also Gail's Thyroid Tips (home.usaa.net /~wurmstein).

I order some of my food through Diamond Organics (www.diamond organics.com). Finding organic food in Manhattan has gotten a lot easier in the last five years, but sometimes I can't get out to a store. And the site has foods, like figs, that you can't always find organic.

Q: You order perishables from them?

A: Yes, they send them overnight. When you figure in the cost of a taxi to get to a store, it's about the same price.

HOME THEATER: Mark designs and installs home systems for a living, so we have good ones in both homes.

I don't really watch TV much, but we like to rent films, even classics that we have seen before. Now with this big screen, we can see a film the way it was meant to be seen. Seeing the Marx brothers on a big screen is a different experience.

Q: You use a big system to see the Marx brothers?

A: The Marx brothers' physical comedy is truly an art form. I just love to see them in the format for which it was intended. It's like what Norman Desmond said about the pictures getting small. The screen got too small.

As told to David Colker

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