One of the greats! Sally Field has tackled a variety of roles throughout her career, from boy-crazy surfers to educated First Ladies.
“She dared this town to typecast her, and then simply broke through every dogmatic barrier to find her own way — not to stardom, which I imagine she’d decry, but to great roles in great films and television,” Steven Spielberg — who directed Field in the 2012 biographical drama Lincoln — told Variety of the Oscar winner in March 2022.
He continued: “Through her consistently good taste and feisty persistence, she has survived our ever-changing culture, stood the test of time and earned this singular place in history.”
Field got her start on sitcoms, playing the titular role — a typical California surfer girl — in Gidget from 1965 to 1966. She then starred in The Flying Nun from 1967 to 1970, a project she believes prevented her from getting serious roles in subsequent years. The Mrs. Doubtfire actress told Variety that she had to “claw [her] way out of” the sitcom world “because they wouldn’t let me in a door.”
Despite casting frustrations early in her career, Field went on to receive numerous accolades for her work in both film and television, including two Oscars for Best Actress (Norma Rae in 1980 and Places in the Heart in 1985) and three Emmys. She earned her first Emmy award in 1977 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie as the titular role in Sybil.
“I came so armed with emotional information that they couldn’t write me off,” Field told Variety of her audition for the TV movie, in which she played a woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder. “Ultimately, I won the Emmy for that.”
As for her personal life, the Hello, My Name Is Doris star is the mother of three boys. She welcomed sons Peter and Eli in 1969 and 1972, respectively, with her first husband, Steven Craig. The duo wed in 1968 and split in 1975.
Field then moved on with Burt Reynolds, whom she appeared in four films with: End (1978), Hooper (1978) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and its 1980 sequel. The actors dated from 1976 to 1980. Although Reynolds called the Stay Hungry actress the “love of [his] life” during a November 2015 interview with Vanity Fair, Field doesn’t quite see it that way.
“He was not someone I could be around. He was just not good for me in any way,” she told Variety of the Deliverance actor, who died in September 2018 at 82. “And he had somehow invented in his rethinking of everything that I was more important to him than he had thought, but I wasn’t. He just wanted to have the thing he didn’t have.”
Four years after parting ways with Reynolds, the Girl With Something Extra alum married Alan Greisman. The pair welcomed their son, Sam, in 1987 before divorcing in 1994.
“The three things I’m most proud of in my life are my sons,” Field told Closer Weekly during a February 2020 Winter Television Critics Association press event. “They are kind, loving, productive people, each with their own list of talents and accomplishments.”
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Scroll down for a look at Field’s life over the years: