Chances are your age will determine which picture of Sally Field comes to mind first. She’s worked professionally in six decades now — and she’s only 63 years old.
The first stage of her career focused on her television roles. First as Gidget, having taken the role originated by Sandra Dee in the 1959 movie, then in The Flying Nun for three seasons. She was adorably cute in both series, and as a result found herself unable to be taken seriously for dramatic parts.
Then came Sybil, a two-night television movie in which Field played a young woman with multiple personalities. Or dissociative identity disorder if you prefer. Either way, the film established her acting bona fides, earning her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.
That led to a couple of movies with her then boyfriend Burt Reynolds, most notably the cult favorite Smoky and the Bandit. Then came her biggest career break of all, the title part in Norma Rae, for which she won Best Actress in the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Cannes Film Festival.
Other big hits followed, including Absence of Malice, Places in the Heart (another Oscar), Steel Magnolias, and Mrs. Doubtfire. She also starred in two smaller films that are among my favorites – Murphy’s Romance and Soapdish.
Now her career has come full circle, as she’s back on television on Brothers & Sisters, for which she’s won another Emmy and another Golden Globe.
I’ve always had a crush on Sally Field; I consider her one of the two cutest actresses in my lifetime (Meg Ryan is the other). But we all can respect Sally Field’s body of work, and she was right during her Academy Award acceptance speech in 1985: Sally, we can’t deny the fact that we like you, we really like you…