Sally Field: Her Career Is Still Flying High

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Sally Field as Doris


Sally Field is back on the big screen with her latest film, Hello, My Name Is Doris, where she stars as an eccentric middle-aged woman who has held on to her bottom-rung accounting job while her colleagues have all been replaced by younger 20-somethings. A self-help seminar inspires 60—something Doris to pursue a much younger co-worker — the new art director (played by Max Greenfield from New Girl), who’s young and hot. Doris is determined to “catch” him and pulls out a few sneaky tricks to get his attention.

But how did Sally Field — one of America’s favorite actresses — get started?

In high school, Sally found herself wandering into the drama department as a means of distracting herself from her strict upbringing and while there, fell in love with the performing arts. Growing up in Van Nuys, CA, Sally was already immersed in the Hollywood lifestyle and shortly after high school she enrolled in an acting workshop at Columbia Studios. This lead to her break-out role as the lead character of Gidget, in the series of the same name. The show was cancelled after only one season, but Sally had made a definite impression.

Her next project was The Flying Nun. A show about a nun that could fly and a show which surprisingly ran for three seasons! Sally Field was married to her high school sweetheart Steve Craig at the time and pregnant with their first child. The producers had to get creative on the show in order to hide her belly underneath the nun’s habit. She took some time off of acting after the birth of her first child and after the birth of her second child, resumed her passion.

Field, who was 21 when she got married, had two sons with Craig before their marriage ended after seven years together.

After several auditions, Field landed a role in 1976′s bodybuilding film Stay Hungry with Jeff Bridges and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She co-starred as a party girl, a far cry from the innocent characters she played on the small screen. That same year, Field entered a new phase of her career with the television movie Sybil. She showed great emotional range as a woman with multiple-personality disorder, winning her first Emmy Award for her work on the TV film. Returning to the big screen, Field appeared in 1977′s Smokey and the Bandit, playing a runaway bride who catches a ride from a trucker (played by Bert Reynolds). Field and Reynolds became romantically involved on the set of film, and starred together in several light-hearted comedies, including 1978′s Hooper and 1980′s Smokey and the Bandit II. In 1979 she starred in the popular film Norma Rae and she received her first Oscar for that role.

After her painful breakup with Reynolds, who married actress Lonnie Anderson, Sally met and married film executive Alan Greisman in 1984.

Contemplating her failed relationships, Field looks at her past self as a “little girl,” and says, “I look back, and I’d like to embrace her, help her out. Because things didn’t have to be all that difficult.”

In the years that followed she starred in films such as Absence of Malice, Kiss Me Goodbye, Places in the Heart (she received her second Oscar for her role), Murphy’s Romance, Punchline and Steel Magnolias. In 1993 she starred alongside Robin Williams and Pierce Brosnan in the popular comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. A year after, she played the role of Tom Hanks character’s mother (even though she’s only ten years older than he is in real life) in the film Forrest Gump. The film was a huge commercial success and won six Academy Awards in 1994. This was also the year she divorced her second husband, Alan Greisman, after ten years of marriage. The two had a son together in 1987.

More recently, Field played the matriarch Nora Walker for 5 seasons on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. Hello, My Name is Doris, is one of Field’s first starring movie roles in nearly a decade. The movie is being touted as a critical success mainly because of her performance, and is expanding in theaters nationwide.


In 2005, Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her diagnosis led her to create the “Rally With Sally For Bone Health” campaign.” Field’s campaign encouraged early diagnosis of such conditions through technology such as bone-density scans.

Sally is a regular contributor to The American Foundation for Federal Rights, an organization that has fought for full federal marriage equality for all Americans.

She has also been known to be involved with Stand Up 2 Cancer, Vital Voices, and The Art of Elysium.

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