Tag Archives: Murphy’s Romance

Actress: Sally Field

Sally Field is two-for-two in the Academy Awards, having won for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984). Uploaded by yourlifemagazine.com.

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.

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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.

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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…

Actor: James Garner

Handsome, self-assured, and cool, that's James Garner. Uploaded by images.digitalmedianet.com.

This is one cool dude. From his earliest days as Maverick, through the halcyon era of The Rockford Files, into mature roles in movies such as Space Cowboys, James Garner is quintessentially cool.

The words used to describe Garner pretty much tell the tale. “Charming.” “Amiable.” “Self-possessed.” “Likable.” He tended to be featured as a rogue on the verge of trouble who had to find his way out by using wit and charm.

While his television roles will probably be what people remember most, Garner also made a number of significant and success films. He co-starred with Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, with Julie Andrews in The Americanization of Emily and Victor/Victoria, and with Walter Brennan in Support Your Local Sheriff!

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But my favorite James Garner movie was the sweet Murphy’s Romance. He owned a pharmacy in a small town, and along came Sally Field, trying desperately to make it as a single mother. The development of their relationship is a lovely bit of storytelling, and no one could have made it as real as did James Garner. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the role, and he won an Emmy for Rockford.

Here’s how James Garner described his acting style: “I’m a Spencer Tracy-type actor. His idea was to be on time, know your words, hit your marks and tell the truth. I don’t think acting is that difficult if you can put yourself aside and do what the writer wrote.”

This is my favorite scene from Murphy’s Romance, in which Garner offers a toast at his birthday party: