February 25, 2011 07:24 PM by Shayla Perry
This week, on an all new episode of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, Kim Cattrall, star of HBO’s Sex and The City, takes off on a search to find out about her grandfather, who disappeared when Cattrall’s mother was just 8-years-old. Will she find the answers to her family’s 70 year old mystery?
Tonight, on season 2 of NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?…
Sex and The City’s Kim Cattrall was born in Liverpool, England, but her family immigrated to British Columbia while she was still very young.
The Sex and The City star moved back to England at age 11 and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After high school, Kim moved to New York to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts on a scholarship.
But despite living in New York for many years, Cattrall says that she has deep routes in England, having come from a “strong stock” of British women.
Of those women, is her mother, who was abandoned by her own father at the age of 8. Curious to solve the family’s 70 year old mystery, Kim Cattrall is on a quest for answers about the grandfather she never knew.
Cattrall begins her search with her mother, Shane Cattrall, and her two sisters (Kim’s aunts) in Liverpool, England. The ladies show Kim the only picture they have of their father, George Baugh. In the picture, Baugh is peering through a window, with his face hardly visible at all.
Kim’s mother recounts her last memory of being with her father. She was in her bedroom and heard rocks hitting the window. When she went to see who was there, it was her father. He had told young Shane that he was leaving and that he wanted her to come with him. He had even brought some pencils and paper, knowing how much she liked to draw. When Shane told her father that she didn’t want to leave, and wanted to stay with her mother, he left, and she never saw him again.
Shane Cattrall and her family never knew what made their father disappear in the night, leaving them without any money, having to sell their own furniture to survive in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Great Britain.
Despite George Baugh’s family still living nearby, they never assisted the Cattrall family in any way, and were virtually “nonexistent” in their lives.
It wasn’t until the girls saw an article in the paper showing a smiling bride wearing the dress of her grandmother– George Baugh’s mother– which was always to be passed down to the girls in the family, that they saw any signs of their father. The article did not mention Shane or her sisters at all, but through the article, Kim learns that her grandfather had a sister, Edna Baugh, and that Edna Baugh’s daughter, was Lesley Radcliffe– the girl in the article.
Hoping to find the reason that George Baugh left his family, Kim Cattrall travels to Hunt’s Cross in search of Lesley Radcliffe. When no one answers the door at the Radcliffe home, Kim goes to a neighbor who instantly recognizes Kim, and tells her that Edna Baugh is still alive (along with George’s other sister, Amy) and that she has her contact information, as they still keep in touch.
Kim then meets Amy and Edna Radcliffe, her great aunts! The women tell Kim that “Georgie” could never stay in one place for long and that their mother grew tired of him always being brought home by the police.
Cattrall asks the women if George ever spoke of his family, and they reveal that he had gone to his mother and told her that he wasn’t happy in his marriage. This news upset George’s mother and she told him to go back to his wife and children, but he never returned. George’s mother was ashamed of he son’s decision, and made it clear that they weren’t to mention him to others.
Unfortunately, George’s sisters don’t have any photographs of their brother, and have no information about what happened to him after he left, as he did not get in touch with his family ever again.
Back in Liverpool, Kim is sent a package of information from a researcher, which includes some shocking news.
On August 5, 1939, George Baugh married a 21 year old woman, despite still being married to Kim’s grandmother, whom he had left just a year before.
Even worse, he didn’t live too far from his other family, and he was brazen enough to keep his name and not change professions.
In Durham County, where Baugh was married for the second time (only 3 hours from Kim’s family), Kim searches through records and finds that Baugh and his new wife lived right next to his wife’s family, and that he had at least three children. One of those children is younger than Kim, meaning that her grandfather was alive in 1959.
Excited to be hot on his trail, Cattrall stops at a local pub to try to see if anyone knows of the Baugh family. With no Baugh listed in the phone book, Kim then searches under the name Oliver, Baugh’s wife’s maiden name, and calls around in search for William and Masie.
After finding Masie Oliver, the sister-in-law of Kim’s grandfather, and calling her, Kim asks if she can come by to speak to her, and Masie says yes.
Kim learns that George met Isabella (“Bella”) in Manchester the year that he left her family, and that they moved back to Durham. She also is told that the couple had 4 children and that Isabella had no idea about George’s other life.
The ladies show Kim a picture of her grandfather; the first she’s ever seen. He’s pictured in a Navy uniform with one of his daughters and wife, Isabella.
Cattrall is heartbroken to learn that her grandfather was such a caring father to these other children, and surprised to find that he and Isabella eventually packed up and moved to Australia. Isabella wasn’t happy about the idea of leaving behind all of her family and friends, but left because George’s “word was law.” Her family never saw her again.
So what happened to George and Isabella in Australia?
For those answers, Kim checks Ancestry.com and finds that George died in 1974, with Isabella passing away in 1990. Conflicted about continuing her search, Cattrall feels that she doesn’t need to travel to Sydney to hear more stories about how selfish her grandfather was. Instead, she returns to her mother and aunts to show them photos of the father they never truly knew, and to tell them about the life he had after he left them.
Holding back tears, the women listen as Kim tells the the story of their father. The ladies are shocked to see his picture, but Kim’s mother says that she feels no connection to the man in the photograph.
Though she never met her grandfather, Kim Cattrall says that this search was more emotional than she thought it would be, and that in a way, George Baugh has given her the greatest gift she’s ever received– allowing her to get to know the family that she already has.
Since the show ended, Kim’s mother and her sisters have been in touch with their half-siblings in Australia.
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Photo credit: NBC