Sally Field

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Sally Field
Sally Field 1971.JPG
Field in the television show Alias Smith and Jones (1971)
BornSally Margaret Field
(1946-11-06) November 6, 1946 (age 67)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, producer, director, screenwriter
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Steve Craig (1968–1975)
Alan Greisman (1984–1993)
ChildrenPeter Craig, Eli Craig
ParentsMargaret Field, Richard Field
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Sally Field
Sally Field 1971.JPG
Field in the television show Alias Smith and Jones (1971)
BornSally Margaret Field
(1946-11-06) November 6, 1946 (age 67)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, singer, producer, director, screenwriter
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Steve Craig (1968–1975)
Alan Greisman (1984–1993)
ChildrenPeter Craig, Eli Craig
ParentsMargaret Field, Richard Field

Sally Margaret Field (born November 6, 1946) is an American actress, singer, producer, director, and screenwriter. In each decade of her career, she has been known for her leading American TV and film roles, most notably in Gidget (1965–66), The Flying Nun (1967–70), Sybil (1976), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Hooper (1978), Norma Rae (1979), Absence of Malice (1981), Places in the Heart (1984), Steel Magnolias (1989), Not Without My Daughter (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Eye for an Eye (1996), ER, Brothers & Sisters (2006–11), The Amazing Spider-Man, and Lincoln (2012).

Field is a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984). She has received three Emmy Awards for her title role in the TV film Sybil (1976), her guest role on ER (2000), and her role as Nora Holden Walker on ABC's series Brothers & Sisters (2007). She has also won two Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress, as well as the Best Female Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Norma Rae (1979). In 2012 Field's widely praised portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln brought her Best Supporting Actress nominations for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sally Field was born in Pasadena, California. Her father, Richard Dryden Field, was an Army officer, and her mother Margaret Field (née Morlan) was an actress.[2] Her parents divorced in 1950; her mother later married actor and stuntman Jock Mahoney.

Field attended Portola Middle School, followed by Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, where she was a cheerleader. Her classmates included infamous financier Michael Milken, actress Cindy Williams (of Laverne & Shirley fame) and Michael Ovitz of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).


Early television career[edit]

Sally Field and Joanne Woodward in Sybil (1976)

Field got her start on television as the boy-crazy surfer girl in the sitcom Gidget (1965–66). The show was not an initial success and was canceled after a single season. However, summer reruns garnered respectable ratings and ABC had a belated success. Industry practice at the time did not allow for canceled shows to be resurrected, so the network scrambled to find a new starring vehicle for Field. The result was The Flying Nun (1967–70), in which Field portrayed Sister Bertrille for three seasons.[3] In an interview included on the Season One DVD release, Field said that she thoroughly enjoyed Gidget, but hated The Flying Nun, because she was not treated with respect by the show's directors. Field was then typecast and finding respectable roles was difficult. She later starred opposite John Davidson in the short-lived series The Girl with Something Extra (1973–74), playing a young woman trying to lead a normal life despite her telepathic abilities.

In 1971, Field starred in the ABC TV movie Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring, playing a discouraged teen runaway who returns home with a bearded drug-abusing hippie (played by David Carradine). She made several guest television appearances through the mid-1970s, including a recurring role on the western comedy Alias Smith and Jones (starring Pete Duel, with whom she had worked on Gidget) and in the Night Gallery episode "Whisper".

She studied with the esteemed acting teacher Lee Strasberg,[4][5] who had previously helped Marilyn Monroe transcend the "bimbo" roles with which her career had begun.

Soon afterwards, Field landed the title role in the 1976 TV film Sybil, based on the book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Her dramatic portrayal of a young woman afflicted with Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) not only earned her an Emmy Award[6] (in 1977) but enabled her to break through the typecasting of her sitcom work.


While on The Flying Nun, Field tried her hand at singing. She sang on the soundtrack for The Flying Nun in 1967, and sang The Flying Nun theme song "Who Needs Wings to Fly". The same year she made it into the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts with her single "Felicidad". In 2008 she sang on the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning.

Film and television[edit]

Field at the 62nd Academy Awards ceremony, 1990

Field made her film debut with a small part in Moon Pilot (1962). Her first major film role was in The Way West (1967). In 1977 she costarred with Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Reed in that year's #2 highest-grossing film, Smokey and the Bandit.[7]

In 1979 Field played the eponymous union organizer in Norma Rae, a successful film that established her as a dramatic actress. Vincent Canby, reviewing the film for the New York Times, wrote: "Norma Rae is a seriously concerned contemporary drama, illuminated by some very good performances and one, Miss Field's, that is spectacular."[8] For her role in Norma Rae, Field won the Best Female Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Field appeared with Reynolds in three more films: (The End, Hooper and Smokey and the Bandit II). In 1981, she continued to change her image, playing a foul-mouthed prostitute opposite Tommy Lee Jones in the South-set film Back Roads. She received Golden Globe nominations for the 1981 drama Absence of Malice and the 1982 comedy Kiss Me Goodbye.

Then came a second Oscar for her starring role in the 1984 drama Places in the Heart. Field's gushing acceptance speech is well remembered and has since been both admired as earnest and parodied as excessive. She said, "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it—and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!"[9] Fields was actually making a humorous reference to dialog from her role in Norma Rae, but many people missed the connection.[who?] Field even parodied herself when she delivered the line (often misquoted as "You like me, you really like me!" [10]) in a Charles Schwab commercial.

The following year, she costarred with James Garner in the romantic comedy Murphy's Romance. In A&E's biography of Garner, she cited her on-screen kiss with Garner as the best cinematic kiss she ever had.

Field appeared on the cover of the March 1986 issue of Playboy magazine, in which she was the interview subject. She did not appear as a pictorial subject in the magazine, although she did wear the classic leotard and bunny-ears outfit on the cover. That year, she received the Women in Film Crystal Award.[11]

For her role as matriarch M'Lynn in the film version of Steel Magnolias (1989), she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She had supporting roles in a number of other movies, including Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) in which she played Miranda Hillard, the wife of Robin Williams's character and the love interest of Pierce Brosnan's character Stuart 'Stu' Dunmyer. She then played the mother of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994), even though she was only 10 years older than Hanks, with whom she had costarred six years earlier in Punchline.

Field's other 1990s films included Not Without My Daughter, a controversial thriller based on the real-life experience of Betty Mahmoody's escape from Iran with her daughter Mahtob; and Soapdish, a comedy in which she played pampered soap-opera star Celeste Talbert, and was joined by an all-star cast including Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue and Robert Downey, Jr. In 1996 Field received the Berlinale Camera award at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival for her role as a grieving vigilante mother in director John Schlesinger's film Eye for an Eye.[12] She co-starred with Natalie Portman in Where the Heart Is (2000) and appeared opposite Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.

Sally Field at the 2012 Gracie Awards ceremony

Field had a recurring role on ER in the 2000-01 season as Dr. Abby Lockhart's mother, Maggie, who suffers from bipolar disorder, a role for which she won an Emmy Award in 2001. After her critically acclaimed stint on the show, she returned to the role in 2003 and 2006. She also starred in the very short-lived 2002 series The Court.

Field's directorial career began with the television film The Christmas Tree (1966). In 1998 she directed the episode "The Original Wives' Club" of the critically acclaimed TV mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, also playing a minor role as Trudy, the wife of astronaut Gordon Cooper. In 2000 she directed the feature film Beautiful.

Field was a late addition to the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, which debuted in September 2006. In the show's pilot, the role of matriarch Nora Walker was played by actress Betty Buckley. However, the show's producers decided to take the character in another direction, and offered the part to Field, who won the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance. The drama also starred Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths as Nora's adult daughters.

Field had the voice role of Marina del Rey, the primary antagonist in Disney's The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, released in August 2008.

In November 2009, Field appeared on an episode of The Doctors to talk about osteoporosis and her Rally With Sally Foundation.

She portrayed Aunt May in the Marvel Comics film The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), and Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, written by Tony Kushner.


In 2005, Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her diagnosis led her to create the "Rally With Sally For Bone Health" campaign [13] with support from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline that controversially co-promoted Boniva, [14] [15] a bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis. Field's campaign encouraged early diagnosis of such conditions through technology such as bone-density scans.[16]

With Telly Savalas, 1971

During the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Field's acceptance speech contained an anti-war statement in which she said: "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamn wars in the first place."[17] Fox, which aired the Emmys, cut the sound and picture after the word "god" and did not cut back to the stage after Field finished talking.[17] An e-mail statement from the company the day after the incident explained that the censorship of Field's speech (amongst two other censorship incidents during the award ceremony) occurred because, "some language during the live broadcast may have been considered inappropriate by some viewers. As a result, Fox's broadcast standards executives determined it appropriate to drop sound and picture during those portions of the show."[17]

Sally Field is a Democrat and she supported Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[18][19]

Field is a dedicated advocate for women's rights. She has served on the board of directors of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international women's NGO, and has co-hosted the Global Leadership Awards six times.[20]

Field is also an activist for gay rights. In 2012 she won the Human Rights Campaign's Ally for Equality Award (her youngest son, Sam, has come out as gay).[21]

Personal life[edit]

Field was romantically involved with Burt Reynolds for many years, during which time they co-starred in several films including Smokey and the Bandit, Smokey and the Bandit II and The End.[22]

Field married Steven Craig in 1968. The couple had two sons: Peter Craig, a novelist, and Eli Craig, an actor and director. Craig and Field divorced in 1975.[22] She married film producer Alan Greisman in 1984, and they had one son, Sam in 1987; Field and Greisman divorced in 1993.[22]

On October 29, 1988, Field and her family survived a crash after their charter plane lost power on takeoff. They all survived with minor injuries.[23]



1962Moon PilotBeatnik girl in lineup
1967Way West, TheThe Way WestMercy McBee
1976Stay HungryMary Tate Farnsworth
1977Smokey and the BanditCarrie / 'Frog'
1977HeroesCarol Bell
1978End, TheThe EndMary Ellen
1978HooperGwen Doyle
1979Norma RaeNorma Rae
1979Beyond the Poseidon AdventureCeleste Whitman
1980Smokey and the Bandit IICarrie / 'Frog'
1981Back RoadsAmy Post
1981Absence of MaliceMegan Carter
1982Kiss Me GoodbyeKay Villano
1984Places in the HeartEdna Spalding
1985Murphy's RomanceEmma Moriarty
1987SurrenderDaisy Morgan
1987Lethal WeaponKTLA ReporterUncredited
1988PunchlineLilah Krytsick
1989Steel MagnoliasM'Lynn Eatenton
1991Not Without My DaughterBetty Mahmoody
1991SoapdishCeleste Talbert / Maggie
1993Homeward Bound: The Incredible JourneySassyVoice role
1993Mrs. DoubtfireMiranda Hillard
1994Century of Cinema, AA Century of CinemaHerselfDocumentary
1994Forrest GumpMrs. Gump
1996Eye for an EyeKaren McCann
1996Homeward Bound II: Lost in San FranciscoSassyVoice role
2000Where the Heart IsMama Lil
2000David CopperfieldBetsey Trotwood
2000BeautifulDirectorial debut
2001Say It Isn't SoValdine Wingfield
2003Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & BlondeRep. Victoria Rudd
2005Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart SternHerselfDocumentary
2006Two WeeksAnita Bergman
2008The Little Mermaid: Ariel's BeginningMarina Del ReyVoice role
2012Amazing Spider-Man, TheThe Amazing Spider-ManAunt May
2012LincolnMary Todd Lincoln
2014Amazing Spider-Man 2, TheThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Aunt MayIn post-production


1965–66GidgetFrances Elizabeth "Gidget" Lawrence32 episodes
1966–67Hey, LandlordBonnie Banner4 episodes
1967–70Flying Nun, TheThe Flying NunElsie Ethrington "Sister Bertrille"82 episodes
1971–72Alias Smith and JonesClementine Hale2 episodes
1971Maybe I'll Come Home in the SpringDenise "Dennie" MillerMovie
1971HitchedRoselle Bridgeman
1971Marriage: Year OneJane Duden
1972Home for the HolidaysChristine MorganMovie
1973–74Girl with Something Extra, TheThe Girl with Something ExtraSally Burton22 episodes
1976BridgerJennifer Melford
1976SybilSybil DorsettMiniseries
1977Merry Christmas, George BaileyMrs. Bailey/Narrator
1995Woman of Independent Means, AA Woman of Independent MeansBess Alcott Steed GarnerMiniseries
1998From the Earth to the MoonTrudy CooperMiniseries; also directed
1999Cooler Climate, AA Cooler ClimateIrisShowtime original movie
2000David CopperfieldAunt Betsey TrotwoodU.S./Irish production
2000–06ERMaggie Wyczenski12 episodes
2002The CourtJustice Kate Nolan6 episodes
2006–11Brothers & SistersNora Walker109 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]


YearTitleChart positions
1967The Flying Nun
  • Released: 1967
  • Label: Colgems COM-106 (Mono)/COS-106 (Stereo)
2008The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning



  1. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership". 
  2. ^ Sally Field. Film
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute Alumni". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  5. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. 
  6. ^ "Sally Field Emmy Winner". Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Smokey and the Bandit (1977)". Box Office Mojo. 1982-01-01. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (March 2, 1979). "Film: 'Norma Rae', Mill-Town Story:Unionism in the South". The New York Times. [dead link]
  9. ^ Oscar acceptance speech:
  10. ^ Gawker supercut
  11. ^ "Past Recipients: Crystal Award". Women In Film. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Berlinale: 1996 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  13. ^ "Actress and Osteoporosis Advocate Sally Field Salutes Women's Health Innovators and Encourages American Women to 'Rally With Sally' for Bone Health (PRNewswire, 2006)". 
  14. ^ "Sally Field and Boniva: Great spokeswoman, misleading ad (Consumer Reports, 2009)". 
  15. ^ "FDA warns Genentech about Boniva ad with Sally Field (Video)(San Francisco Bus Times 2011)". 
  16. ^ "Ability Magazine: Sally Field - Promoting Healthy Habits" (2009)". Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  17. ^ a b c Marikar, Shelia (September 18, 2007). "On TV, 'Extreme Caution' vs. Free Speech". ABC News. Retrieved November 5, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Cal State Los Angeles - 2/2/08. Sally Field and Bradley Whiteford speaking their support for Hillary Clinton for President 2008.". 
  19. ^ "Sally Field and Hillary Clinton". 
  20. ^ "Board of Directors". Vital Voices. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  21. ^ Broverman, Neal (October 7, 2012). "Watch: Sally Field's Amazing HRC Speech About Her Gay Son". The Advocate. 
  22. ^ a b c "Sally Field- Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sally Field in Jet Accident". New York Times. Associated Press. November 1, 1988. 

External links[edit]