59 Unedited Photos Of America's Sweetheart, Sally Field
Sally Field Showing Some Leg for "The End"
Sally Field might be small, but she is mighty. Equal parts cute – as demonstrated from her performances in Gidget and The Flying Nun – and feisty like her Norma Rae character and strong like the characters she played in Steel Magnolias and Places in the Heart. Let’s take a look through the life and career of this effervescent icon of the American cinema to see why we like her… we really like her.
A dark comedy, the 1978 film The End, starred boyfriend-girlfriend Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, along with Dom LeLuise, Robby Benson, Kristy Mc Nichol, Carl Reiner, Norman Fell, Joanne Woodward, and Myrna Loy. Field posed for a series of publicity photos ahead of the release of this film wearing a jersey with the number 22 on it. That was Burt Reynolds’ jersey number back when he played football. Many of the pics from this photoshoot crossed the line to cheesecake in nature but Burt Reynolds probably didn’t mind.
Sally Field's 2018 Memoir Gave Details About Her Teen Years
A true California girl, Sally Margaret Field was born in Pasadena on November 6, 1946. Her parents were Margaret Morlan Field and Richard Dryden Field, an Army veteran who served in World War II. Field has one brother, Richard D. Field who is a doctor and a professor. Her parents divorced in 1950 when Sally was just six-years-old. Later, her mother remarried.
In spite of Field's total professionalism and chipper nature this beloved actress has experienced quite a bit of darkness in her life. Through it all she's remained optimistic, and she still manages to make audiences smile whenever she pops up on screen.
Sally Field Played a lady of the evening in "Back Roads"
Field truly cast off her former ‘girl next door’ image in the 1981 film Back Roads. In this movie, which also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Sally played a bristly, foul-mouthed prostitute turning tricks in Alabama. The movie was only a moderate success and the movie’s director, Martin Riff, blamed this on the ongoing conflict between Sally and Tommy Lee Jones. The two stars reportedly hated each other, and while this can sometimes lead to a certain frisson that viewers feel onscreen that wasn't really the case in Back Roads. To say that these two had a difficult time working together is an understatement, but it did bring a sense of realism to the duo's scenes.
Sally Field Was TV's "Gidget"
After her graduation for high school, Sally Field attended an acting workshop hosted by Columbia Studios. She told Oprah:
I had no idea what I would do after high school. I never even took the SAT. I must have known that a person could go to New York to study and become a real actress, but I couldn’t see that for myself.
She continued, stating that after attending the acting workshop she scored an audition for a television adaptation of Gidget:
The waiting room was filled with girls who looked like movie stars. They all had professional head shots; the only pictures I had were wallet photos of me with my friends. At my screen test, I walked in and said, 'which one is the camera.' But the casting director said, 'You’re it.' God was looking out for me. He thought he'd throw me in the ocean and see if I could swim.
A Young Sally Field... A Typical Cali Girl
The very petite Field could easily play a younger girl so she was a shoe-in to play a believable boy-crazy, surf-obsessed high school teen in Gidget from 1965 to 1966. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t a big success. The studio cancelled it after the first season. But perhaps their timing was just off. The studio broadcast reruns of the cancelled Gidget over the summer, and the show finally brought it decent ratings. It was a delayed success but the show had already been cancelled so the studio opted not to resurrect it.
Sally Field Was No Surfer Girl
Sally Field may have been a typical California girl, but she was no surfer.Fans of the short-lived show may have noticed that the surf scenes were creatively shot to make it look like Sally was ripping the waves. The film crew expected Sally to know how to surf and had to adjust when she could barely stand on the board.
Burt Reynolds Was Never Mr. Sally Field
Field has been married twice, but neither time was to actor Burt Reynolds. From 1968 to 1975, she was married to Steven Craig. They had two sons together, Peter Craig, a novelist, and Eli Craig, an actor and director. She was married to her second husband, Alan Greisman, from 1984 to 1994. She had another son, Sam, with Greisman. Sally was romantically linked to Burt Reynolds for about six years, beginning the late 1970s, but they never tied the knot. Their romance, however, has become a thing of Hollywood legend, with Reynolds describing as the love of his life, while Field notes that their time together was psychologically damaging due to the controlling nature of Reynolds.
Sally Field's Romance with Burt Reynolds Was Toxic at Times
To the tabloid media, Field and Reynolds seemed like a Hollywood power couple, but in Field's memoir, In Pieces, she provided an inside look at their relationship. Sally, who had been abused as a child and recently divorced, was simultaneously terrified and empowered to have the biggest sex symbol of the 1970s interested in her. But she writes that Reynolds was insecure and jealous. Filled with toxic masculinity, Reynolds belittled Sally’s acting skills, turned controlling, and expected her to take care of him.
Sally Field Battled an Eating Disorder
Being a teen celebrity, especially one who was expected to wear a bathing suit all the time, Field developed an eating disorder while filming Gidget and it extended to her time on the set of The Flying Nun. At her lowest point she was binging and purging, but when this proved to be too physically and psychologically damaging she drastically restricted her diet instead.
She later recalled that she ate only cucumbers for days on end. Tiny as she was, she asked her family doctor – the same one who helped arrange an abortion for her when she was 17 – for diet pills. He prescribed Dexedrine which left her wired and jittery throughout her early days onscreen, she writes:
I was told to take on every morning, accompanied by a maximum-strength diuretic, wait thirty minutes and lo and behold — a jubilant, cotton-mouthed, babbling idiot who had to pee every two seconds.
Raw and Gritty, Sally Field in "Norma Rae"
Field established herself as a serious dramatic actress by playing a tough and determined union organizer in the 1979 movie Norma Rae. Field’s character, based on the real-life story of Crystal Lee Sutton, is a North Carolina mill factory worker with little formal education who goes up against the factory owners to unionize and push for better working conditions. In this role, Sally was raw and gritty and real. It was, for the first time, a role that didn’t depend on Sally’s cuteness. The role earned Field an Academy Award and led to her declare that the audience finally, "really" liked her.
Sally Field Cheesing With Arnold Schwarzenegger's Massive Biceps
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sally Field both appeared in the 1976 film Stay Hungry. Schwarzenegger was typecast as a bodybuilder – duh – who was training at an Alabama gym for an upcoming Mr. Universe competition. Field played the receptionist at the gym, so a less interesting role. Although it was not his debut film, Schwarzenegger earned a Golden Globe for Best Acting Debut. Sally’s tiny stature served to enhance Schwarzenegger’s huge biceps.
Sally Field, Ready to Revamp Her Image and Take More Dramatic Roles
After the cancellation of her 1973-1974 television show, The Girl with Something Extra, Field studied with renowned acting teacher Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in hopes of honing her acting chops and preparing for more challenging roles. Strasberg became Field's mentor. Under his guidance and tutelage, she expanded her skills as a performer, but more importantly, Strasberg helped her move beyond her former image. It took a little while before the studios took notice of her more mature image, but Field finally got her chance to prove her chops.
Sally Field in the early 1980s
Field began dating producer Alan Greisman not long after her romance with actor Burt Reynolds ended. He is also in the entertainment industry and has produced more than 24 films. Field and Greisman dated for nearly a year before they got married in 1984. They stayed together for nine years and had one son together, Sam, who now works as a producer, director, and writer.
Sally Field Enjoyed Kissing James Garner
Director Martin Ritt, who worked with Field on previous projects, had to fight with the execs at Columbia Pictures to get them to agree to make Murphy’s Romance with the former Gidget star attached. Murphy's Romance was a fight from moment one. Columbia Pictures didn’t think the movie would be a hit because it didn’t have sex and violence, and they didn't want to cast James Garner.
Once Ritt was able to convince the studio to make the film, he had to fight to cast James Garner as the male lead. Garner had a healthy film career in the 1960s but had worked in television throughout the 1970s. Good thing he was finally cast in Murphy’s Romance. Field said that her on-screen kiss with James Garner was the best cinematic kiss she ever had.
Young Sally Field in the 1960s
Field’s character in The Flying Nun was a story of a bad girl gone good. In the pilot for the television series, viewers learned that Sally’s character, Sister Bertrille, was a young girl from Chicago who has recently been arrested for participating in a free speech protest. She ignores the pressure from her family of high-achieving doctors to study medicine and announces that she wants to join a convent and dedicate herself to missionary work.
Sally Field Was Typecast as the "Cute" Girl
With her petite stature and apple cheeks, Field was typecast as the typical girl next door. It was harder to find non-teen roles as she entered her twenties, although she did play a young bride with ESP in the 1973 TV series, The Girl with Something Extra, opposite John Davidson. Telekineses may have been hot in the '70s, but this series was cancelled the following year, apparently The Girl with Something Extra failed to see the axe coming. Field knew that she had to do something if she hoped to outgrow her cutesy roles to become a serious actress. It was time for her to go back to the drawing board.
Sally Field Was a Young Bride and Mother
Field was only 19-years-old when she started dating Steven Craig, a former high school classmate. The couple married in 1968 and Field quickly became pregnant with her first child. She was filming The Flying Nun at this time which would make for an interesting plot twist if the writers tried to write Field's pregnancy into the storyline, unfortunately there was no immaculate conception Field's convent.
Her big, billowy nun habit kept a lot of things secret, unfortunately the series was cancelled before she got too far along in her pregnancy with her son, Peter Craig. Whether it was osmosis or the family business, Craig became a writer. His novels include The Martini Shot and Blood Father, and he adapted the screenplays for The Hunger Games.
Even Sally Field Thought "The Flying Nun" Was Silly
What's so silly about a young, novice nun who uses her new-found ability to fly to solve all of her problems? Everything, according to Field. The actress initially wanted to turn down the role, but her stepfather warned her that if she turned it down more offers for better work were unlikely to come in. Field relented and between 1967 and 1970, she reluctantly played the lead role of Sister Bertrille.
Sweet and Sassy Sally Field
Field was a cheerleader at both Portola Middle School and Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, California. Petite and sassy, we are willing to bet that she was a flyer on the team, but she always knew that she was meant for the stage. While speaking with Susan Wloszczyna during the press run for Hello, My Name Is Doris, Field explained:
I had no question. I didn’t think about it. I had access to a stage from the age of 12. In those days, there were theater arts departments in schools and I was involved from middle school to high school.
Sally Field Joined the Drama Club to Escape the Drama at Home
As a teenager, Field’s home life was a mess. Her new stepfather was strict and quick to discipline Field and her brother for the tiniest bit of disobedience. Field's mother and stepfather fought more and more as the marriage became rockier, making the young girl's home the last place she wanted to be. Field avoided going home as much as she could and threw herself into extracurricular activities, as an excuse to stay at school longer. That’s how she first became interested in acting. In a later interview, Sally said, “I landed in the drama department, and it just kind of saved me.”
Sally Field Starred in Two TV Shows Before She Turned 20 Years Old
After ABC cancelled Gidget they didn’t want to let their new teen starlet go. The studio quickly started shopping for a new starring show for Field. They developed a strange new sitcom that mixed a bit of the supernatural with a healthy dose of religion, and a disregard of physics that added up to success. The result was The Flying Nun, a show that focused on a diminutive novice nun who was so slim and tiny that she could harness the wind in her cornette and fly.
Sally Field and Madeleine Sherwood in their Habits
Sally Field’s first introduction to television, Gidget, was a positive experience. She later explained that she felt respected on the set of Gidget. It was a different experience with her second TV show, The Flying Nun. Sally recalled that she often felt humiliated on the set, especially when she had to dangle from a crane for the flying scenes. The show was the source of constant jokes from comedians and the press, and Sally felt the sting. She credited her co-star on the show, Madeleine Sherwood who played the Reverend Mother, with being an encouraging presence and for suggesting she enroll in acting lessons.
"The Flying Nun" It's All Basic Physics
The Flying Nun was a nutty concept, but there was some sound physics behind it. In the show, other characters often noted that it was Field’s small size – only 90 pounds – coupled with her oversize cornette and the strong ocean breeze that allowed her to fly, but as her character explained, there were other factors involved - like physics. Sister Bertrille once explained, “When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly.”
Sally Field in "Sybil" in 1976
Field had the opportunity to show her true range as an actress when she was cast in the title role in the 1976 made-for-TV movie, Sybil. The television film was based on the popular novel by Flora Rheta Schreiber about a young woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. For her first dramatic role, Sally was impressive. She demonstrated a tremendous range of emotions and not only won critical praise for her performance but the 1977 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special Program. Field later told Oprah that she understood what it was like to compartmentalize parts of herself for other people similarly to Sybil:
I'm not a multiple personality, but I understood her. As I said before, I would go into Gidget when I needed to make people happy or make them not threatening to me or when I didn't want to be sexual. I was safe there. That's how Sybil was. I knew her so well.
Sally Field Met Burt Reynolds While Filming "Smokey and the Bandit"
Field’s agent told her she needed to add a major movie role to her acting resume, and after her breakout performance in Sybil she landed the role of a lifetime. That is the only reason she accepted the role of runaway bride Carrie is the 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit, which starred Burt Reynolds, one of the hottest Hollywood heartthrobs of the 1970s, and comedian Jackie Gleason.
Initially, Universal Studios didn’t want to cast Sally in the role, claiming that she was not attractive and sexy enough for the role. But Burt Reynolds went to bat for her and convinced the studio that she was right for the part, Field told Oprah:
Believe it or not, [Sybil] led to Smokey and the Bandit. This time, Burt Reynolds called me up personally. I pretended it wasn't shocking and scary that he would call me. He said he had this movie and the script wasn't very good but that he trusted me and would make it work. Actually, there was no script; in the end, we made up half the movie. The challenge for me was that people saw Sybil and said, 'Boy, she can act—but man, is she ugly!' So I thought if I did a movie with Burt and he thought I was cute, then somebody else might think I was cute and I could continue acting. It was a really hard time for women in film. There were mostly just tall, gorgeous models working, and I wasn't pretty. But by then, I was single with two kids. I had to earn a living.
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field Starred in Four Movies Together
While filming Smokey and the Bandit, Field and her co-star, the hunky Burt Reynolds, became romantically involved. They never married, but the couple had a high-profile relationship from 1976 to 1980. During this halcyon era the couple took advantage of their onscreen chemistry to appear in three more movies together, Smokey and the Bandit II, The End, and Hooper. Although they broke up in 1980, they continued with an on-again, off-again thing for two more years. In his 2015 memoir, Reynolds wrote that he regretted not fighting harder to make his relationship with Field work.
Sally Field Was "Spectacular" In "Norma Rae"
Field’s portrayal of the title character in the 1979 film, Norma Rae, earned her critical praise and firmly established her as a dramatic actress. The New York Times called Field's performance “spectacular." Sally was presented with the Best Female Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and, later, a Golden Globe and a New York Film Critics’ Circle Award. Sally Field won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for Norma Rae. The film has also been selected for preservation by the National Film Registry because it has been deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”
"Places in the Heart" Earned Sally Field Her Second Oscar
Field was cast as a widowed Depression-era mother who has to fight to keep her farm, battle against racism, and raise her children with the help of an African-American farmhand in the 1984 film, Places in the Heart. Like Norma Rae, Field's role in Places in the Heart was not a glamorous one, but she demonstrated the strength, determination, and moral standard of her character. The movie was both a critical and commercial success, grossing nearly $35 million and collecting seven Oscar nominations. It won in two categories – Best Picture and Best Actress for our most charming leading lady.
"You Like Me!" Gushed Sally Field While Accepting Here Oscar
At the 57th Academy Awards presentation, Sally Field’s name was announced as the winner of the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Place in the Heart. Even if you don't remember the film, Field's enthusiastic acceptance speech made for a truly memorable pop culture moment. After thanking a few people, Field references her first Academy Award, saying:
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 really like me!
In "Lincoln", Sally Field Played a Tormented First Lady
Sally Field was open about her dislike of Tommy Lee Jones when they co-starred in the 1981 movie, Back Roads, but she announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on January 29, 2013, that several years after working on the picture Jones approached her at an event and offered an apology. He apparently acknowledged that he was difficult to get along with in those days. Field assured DeGeneres that the two had reconciled and got along well when they appeared together in the 2012 movie, Lincoln. Without the tension between them, both Jones and Sally earned Oscar nominations for their supporting roles in the film.
Sally Field Headed an All-Star Cast in "Steel Magnolias"
Field led a star-studded female cast in the 1989 mega-hit Steel Magnolias. She was joined on screen by Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, and Julia Roberts. The film, based on Robert Harling’s stage play of the same name, focuses on the strong bond between a group of women in a small Southern town who come together to cope with tragedy. It showed the power of a support system and the incredible strength of women.
Sally Field Played a Supporting Role to Robin Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire"
In 1993, Field scored one of the biggest hits of her career alongside the great Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. In the film, Field played Williams’ ex-wife and mother of his children. Desperate to spend time with his own children following his divorce, Williams' character dresses in drag and is hired as the children’s nanny by Field’s unsuspecting character.
The entire affair sounds super creepy, but through pure charisma alone the film is one of the most charming and memorable movies of the decade. Mrs. Doubtfire was the second highest-grossing movie of 1993. While speaking with News Corp, Field discussed working with Williams while he was at the height of his career in the '90s;
He had endless energy. And he’d want to do take after take after take because every take he would want to do something different... What drove him absolutely crazy is that he could never make me laugh. He would never break me up.
Sally Field Isn't Even Old Enough to Be Tom Hanks' Mother
Field is only ten years older than Tom Hanks, yet she was cast to play his mother in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump. This was her second time working with Hanks. The two had appeared in Punchline six years prior to reuniting on the set of Forrest Gump, so when Hanks called her up to play a mother who loves her son unconditionally, she jumped at the chance. In 2022, Field told Glamour:
I was in the midst of shooting Mrs. Doubtfire when I got a call from my friend, Tom Hanks, who I had worked with before and we remained friends. He said, 'I don’t want you to be insulted.' And I thought, Oh God, what’s he going to say? He said, 'I want you to play my mother.' And I said, 'Well, Tom, I wouldn’t be insulted.' I’m 10 years older than Tom, but I said, 'I want to do it, Tom. I don’t care what it is. I want to do it.' Then I read the screenplay, and of course it’s Forrest Gump, it’s wonderful. I got to play younger than myself and older than myself.
Playing the Title Role in "Sybil" Changed Sally Field's Career
When Field and Joanne Woodward played a patient and psychiatrist in the made-for-television movie, Sybil, it was the first time that many people in the general public had ever heard about multiple personality disorder, but it wasn’t the first time that this rare psychological disorder was the subject of a movie. Joanne Woodward herself played a woman with multiple personalities in The Three Faces of Eve for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Sally Field Was a Fan-Favorite on "ER"
In 2000 and 2001, Field returned to television with a recurring role in the hit hospital drama, ER. She played Maggie Wyczenski, the mother of regular character Dr. Abby Lockhart. Field's character suffered from bipolar disorder, which caused complications for her daughter. Field was praised for her sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a bipolar patient. She earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
Sally Field Added Broadway to Her Resume
Field was able to cross a goal off her bucket list in 2002 when she starred in the Broadway play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee in the role of Stevie, the wife of a man going through a bizarre mid-life crisis in which he falls in love with a goat. You read that right folks, a goat. This experimental play centers on encroaching moralism and the breaking of taboos in polite society, and it's exactly the kind of thing that Field wanted to do after decades of working within the Hollywood studio system. While The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? didn't light the world on fire, Field’s next performance in a Broadway show, The Glass Menagerie, earned her a Tony Award nomination. That's right, the actress who was once playing surfing teens and flying nuns is extremely close to having an EGOT.
Sally Field's Return to a TV Series Earned Her an Emmy
Field was a last-minute addition to the cast of the ABC family drama, Brothers & Sisters, which debuted in 2006. Her character, Nora, was the matriarch of the Walker family, with family members played by an ensemble cast that included Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockhart. Brothers & Sisters was on the air for five seasons and attracted a devoted following. For her portrayal of Nora Walker, Sally earned a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award to add to her collection of awards.
In the Mid-1970s, Sally Field Was Changing Her Public Image and Her Personal Life
In this photo from the early 1970s, Field looks like a typical teenager but in reality she was married with a child. She was desperately trying to shed her wholesome teen image so she could land more mature roles. While she was trying to revamp her image, her marriage was falling apart.
In 1976, she divorced her childhood sweetheart and went at it alone in the wilderness of Hollywood.
"Mama always said..."
As the mother of Tom Hanks’ title character in Forrest Gump, Sally Fields’ character is full of life’s wisdom. But most of her bumper-sticker-worthy tidbits were not uttered by her character. Instead, Forrest shares them, prefacing these nuggets with “Mama always says…”. Who could forget “Stupid is as stupid does,” “Life is like a box of chocolates,” “You have to put the past behind you before you can move on,” and “Dying is a part of life”?
In 2022, Field said that she takes great pleasure in the fact that her work means something to so many people:
I’m glad that my almost 60 years of doing this work has somehow resonated. That certainly feels good. There’s no question about that. But it’s not something I think about very often.
Sally Field Is an Advocate for Women's Rights
Field has been actively advocating for women’s rights throughout her career. One organization she has long supported is the Vital Voices Global Partnership, a group that brings together female leaders in a variety of areas, such as economic empowerment, human rights, and political activation. While serving on the board of directors for this organization Field co-hosted the group’s Global Leadership Awards on six different occasions. Field also works on behalf of gay rights and was awarded the Human Rights Campaign’s Ally for Equality Award for 2012.
Sally Field Hosted a Christmas Episode of SNL
Sally Field hosted Saturday Night Live on December 11, 1993, for the show’s annual Christmas episode. The show opened with funnyman Adam Sandler singing his holiday song, “Santa Don’t Like Bad Boys.” A highlight of the episode was Field's “Pious Housewife” skit. In this skit, she plays an overly religious mother who pray over every single decision she makes, no matter how trivial. The praying is so hilariously over-the-top that Jesus eventually comes down from Heaven to tell her to chill out.
Sally Field Made her Directorial Debut in 1996
Field branched out in 1996 to add ‘director’ to her credentials. She made her directorial debut with the television movie, The Christmas Tree, a film starring Julie Harris and Andrew McCarthy that was broadcast on ABC on December 22, 1996. Walt Disney Television produced the project. Sally also directed an episode of the television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. Her episode was titled, “The Original Wives’ Club.”
One of Sally Field's Movies Is Used in Journalism Classes
Did you know that one of Sally Field’s movies is regularly shown as a journalism lesson in college classes? In 1981's Absence of Malice Field plays a journalist who receives flawed information that was planted for her to find, which leads her to write a damning news article about a local businessman, played by Paul Newman. In the course of unraveling who planted the information and why, Field and Newman's characters become romantically involved.
Although Sally’s character is not the villain of the story, she does a number of things that are professional questionable, including failing to verify and confirm her information and becoming romantically involved with her subject matter. Because Absence of Malice illustrates these concepts so well, college journalism professors show this film when discussing these concepts.
Sally Field Has an Arrest Record
On December 13, 2019, Field participated in one of Jane Fonda’s weekly demonstrations in from the U.S. Capitol to protest climate change. Fonda’s controversial weekly protests, called Fire Drill Fridays, were viewed as a disruption of the peace by the Capital Police, so much so that the authorities arrested Field following an impromptu speech where she urged her fellow protestors to step out of their comfort zone and demand legislative changes.
Rally With Sally ... For Bone Health
Sally Field was just short of her sixtieth birthday when she was diagnosis with osteoporosis. This is a fairly common bone condition that impacts millions of Americans, primarily post-menopausal women. Fortunately, she was diagnosed early and has responded to hormone replacement therapy. In response, she started the Rally With Sally Foundation to promote bone health, early diagnosis, and the importance of routine bone density scans. She teamed up with a pharmaceutical company to promote Boniva, an osteoporosis treatment.
Sally Field, Lincoln Scholar?
In preparation to play Mary Todd Lincoln in Spielberg’s Lincoln, Sally Field read several biographies on the former first lady and even visited her former home so she could see her personal memorabilia. Since many historians believe that Mary Todd Lincoln likely suffered from bipolar disorder, Sally also spoke with mental health experts so she could capture the nuances of this character. While speaking with Vanity Fair about her preparation to play Mary Todd Lincoln, Field explained:
I didn’t come in with any agenda whatsoever. I just wanted to play that character and to have the opportunity to work with Steven, to say those exquisite words that Tony wrote, and to work across from an artist of [Daniel’s] magnitude. If I was going to go down, I was going to go down in the biggest flame ball you ever saw. I think what that did was that it really unearthed a part of Mary. There is a fierceness and a tenacity about Mary, and I think that it was important for me to get into that part of myself that is just uncompromisingly certain.
Sally Field Fought to Land the Role of Mary Todd Lincoln
When she learned that Steven Spielberg planned to make Lincoln, Sally Field really, really wanted to play Mary Todd Lincoln, the emotionally tormented wife of President Abraham Lincoln. But she was, at the time, 20 years older than Mary would have been and 10 years older than Daniel Day-Lewis who was cast as Lincoln. Field says that once she was cast she and Day-Lewis did what they could to prepare to play a married couple, albeit through the internet. She explained:
[Day-Lewis] was in Ireland more of the time and I was in Los Angeles, so there wasn’t any way for us to have a cup of coffee. We just couldn’t start a comfortable relationship with each other because he was so far away! Again, it’s who he is. It was a terribly generous and fun thing for him to do. It started to peel away any feelings of intimidation I may have had about the aura that is him. And it was just fun to try to speak in the verbiage of the era. In reality, it’s what any actor would do. I’m glad he did it, because I wouldn’t have initiated it.
Sally Field Packed on the Pounds to Play Mrs. Lincoln
To play the role of Mary Todd Lincoln in the 2012 historical drama, Lincoln, Sally Field gained 25 pounds. Historians have documents that show Mary Todd Lincoln’s dress measurements and Sally tried to reach those dimensions. That’s a lot of weight for someone as petite as she is. This was a big step for the actress who suffered from an eating disorder in her youth. Working with a nutritionist, Sally established a calorie-packed diet, but she still said it was pretty gross:
I went to a nutritionist, and I ate really the most god-awful stuff. It was repulsive. And after the end of every day, I felt like a pate de foie gras goose.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame Shines Brighter with Sally Field's Star
Just in time to mark her 50th year in the entertainment industry, Sally Field was presented with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a ceremony on May 5, 2014. The Walk of Fame committee stated, “We are thrilled to be adding one of Hollywood’s all-time favorite actresses to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fans from around the world have been anxiously awaiting to see this star unveiled.”
If you want to find Field's star just head down to 6767 Hollywood Boulevard (right next to the Stella Adler school of Dramatic acting!) and is the 2,524th star on the iconic walk.
Aunt May Wasn't Sally Field's Favorite Character to Play
Field said she only agreed to play Peter Parker’s Aunt May in the 2012 superhero movie, The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield, as a favor to the film’s producer, Laura Ziskin, who died just before the film was released. To say that Field was frustrated with playing Aunt May is an understatement. After filming she noted:
It's really hard to find a three dimensional character in [Aunt May], and you work it as much as you can, but you can't put ten pounds of [crap] in a five pound bag. You have to try to make it as logical a performance as you possibly can. Andrew is such a lovely, lovely, actor, so we found a relationship in who we were, and that was fun.
Sally Field Was Once Nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress
Sally Field traveled to Israel and Turkey while filming the 1991 drama, Not Without My Daughter. The film was based on the real-life story of an American wife and mother who found herself trapped in Iran, trying to flee from her abusive husband with her young daughter in tow. For her role in this film, Sally was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress… the one piece of hardware no actress wants in her trophy case. Thankfully, Sean Young beat her out for this award for her performance in A Kiss Before Dying.
Sally Field Was Sassy... A Cat!
Remember the 1993 movie Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, the live-action story of two dogs and a cat who travel a great distance to be reunited with their humans? That was Sally Field who voiced the cat, Sassy, a classy Himalayan feline. Her co-stars in the film were Michael J. Fox who played Chance, the young and exuberant American bulldog and Don Ameche who played the wise old Golden Retriever, Shadow. The movie was well-received when it was released and remains a popular children's movie.
Soapdish Was Field's Excuse To Have Some Fun
In 1991's comedy film, Soapdish, a behind-the-scenes story about a mature and established soap opera star who has to deal with young up-starts, creepy casting directors, and backstage drama while working on a fictional television soap, Field anchors an outstanding ensemble cast made up of heavy hitters like Kevin Kline, Elisabeth Shue, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Downey, Jr., Carrie Fisher, Kathy Najimy, and Teri Hatcher. It's truly a murderers row of talent, and it's all thanks to Field that this film came together.
During the filming of Steel Magnolias Field concocted a little idea for herself. She later said:
I’d been trying to develop a film about actors, and Bobby thought it would be fun for me to play an out-and-out [jerk]. I thought, Great! Someone who is just very, very crabby.
Burt Reynolds Had a Crush on Gidget
When Field read the script for Smokey and the Bandit, she thought the story seemed rather light. But Burt Reynolds, who had had a celebrity crush on her since her days on Gidget, talked her into taking the part. Little did she know at the time, but the script was really just an outline or a guideline. She said in a later interview that the majority of the dialogue was improvised. While that made for some funny and memorable lines, this way of making a movie was different than what she was used to. It was challenging at time, and she worried that the film would tank her career. Field later said:
I thought maybe I should do it because it wasn't a script. I didn't know Burt and we all just said, 'Let's just ad lib our way through this thing.'
Who knew this wacky movie would work?
Sally Field Was the Bad Guy in "Legally Blonde 2"
Field doesn’t often play villains, but she was the bad guy in the 2003 film, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, which starred Reese Witherspoon. In the sequel to the hit girl-power movie, Legally Blonde, Elle Wood is now a lawyer and committed to making change in Washington D.C. Her mentor is Congresswoman Victoria Rudd, played by Field. As the story progresses, Elle realizes that Congresswoman Rudd was a sell-out who was really working against her. Elle was forced to deliver some blonde-powered comeuppance.
"80 For Brady" Is Sally Field's Latest Film Project
Age is just a number! In a new movie, 80 for Brady, four 80-plus women travel to Houston so they can watch the legendary quarterback Tom Brady, a man who defies age limitations, lead the New England Patriots to victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Sally Field, along with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Rita Moreno, play the quartet of octogenarians and avid Brady fans. The movie is based on a true story, and if nothing else it looks like a good time at the movies.
Sally Field and Her Family Survived a Plane Crash
Sally Field once survived a plane crash. Let that sink in: Sally Field once survived a plane crash. The accident in question happened on October 29, 1988, at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport in Colorado. She was on board a private plane owned by Merv Griffin along with her then-husband, Alan Greisman, their 11-month-old son Sam, and Sally’s mother, Margaret, when the plane lost power and veered into two parked airplanes. No one was hurt in the horrifying incident, but Sally and her family were sprayed with jet fuel which is a nightmare in its own right.
Sally Field's Bestie Is Jane Fonda
Field’s upcoming movie, 80 for Brady, marks the first time that she has worked with Jane Fond… on a film project. The two actresses have been friends for a long time, with Field joining Fonda in several of her activism events, and Fonda similarly supporting Field with her advocacy projects. The two have been friends since the early 1980s when Fonda just showed up at Field's house one day. Field explained:
[Fonda] literally knocked on my door and said, you know, 'Come on, we're going to lunch.' She's been so important to me as a female friend and mentor and all sorts of things.