Actress Sally Field turns 70

She played the matriarch on the TV series Brothers & Sisters.

normaraeI’ve watched Sally Field in more projects than almost anyone. I could quote her famous line – no, just imagine that I did.

Gidget, (TV, 1965-66) – I’m sure I watched her as a surfing teen in at least some episodes. Yikes, 50 years ago.

Hey, Landlord (1967) – in the latter stages, she played the visiting sister of a guy who inherits his uncle’s apartment building.

The Flying Nun (TV, 1967-1970) – I watched, fairly religiously, the antics of the nun wearing an improbably aerodynamic habit. Sister Bertrille was an innocent, but always wanted to do the right thing. She had to keep her special abilities hidden from her Mother Superior. The ability to fly, which I dreamed about even before watching this, may be a core fantasy.

The Girl with Something Extra (1973-1974) – you know you’ve made it on when the character has your real first name. I only vaguely recall watching this one about newlyweds (the groom was John Davidson), but she had ESP. Shades, sort of, of Bewitched.

Sybil (1976) – no one, certainly not I was ready for her in this two-part miniseries playing a woman with multiple personalities. Our Gidget? I haven’t seen it since it first aired, and I’d be curious how it holds up. She won her first Emmy for this.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977), The End (1978), Hooper (1978), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) – I had a girlfriend at the time, Susan, who was smart and sophisticated, and LOVED Burt Reynolds. Sally Field was dating Burt and showed up in his films. I recall particularly enjoying The End, which was a comedy about someone trying to commit suicide after a bad diagnosis.

Norma Rae (1979) – she won her first Oscar for playing “a textile worker who agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved”

Absence of Malice (1981) – she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this movie starring Paul Newman.

Places in the Heart (1984) – Sally wins her second Oscar, for playing a woman trying to hold on to a cotton field in the 1930s South,and gives her immortal quote at the ceremonies.

Murphy’s Romance (1985) – a May/October romance, with James Garner; pleasant, as I recall

Punchline (1988) – Sally and Tom Hanks are allies, then rivals, in the cutthroat world of stand-up comedy. I remember this as a bitter film with an uneven tone.

Steel Magnolias (1989) – the bond of women working in a hair salon. Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, and the colorful Shirley MacLaine.

Soapdish (1991) – the cutthroat world of TV soap operas. I recall liking it.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) – I bought the contrivance that the ex-wife (Sally) doesn’t recognize her ex-husband (Robin Williams), and really liked this film

Forrest Gump (1994) – this movie made me cranky for a number of reasons, only one of which is Sally playing Tom Hanks’ mother when she’s only 10 years older than he is

The Court (TV, 2002) – it lasted a handful of episodes

ER (TV)- she won an Emmy in 2001, and was nominated in 2003 for guest appearances on the medical show. I didn’t always watch the series but I did when she was on.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) – The first one was OK, but this is NOT a good movie. Sally plays a Congresswoman

Brothers & Sisters (TV, 2006–2011) – she played the matriarch. Her adult children (Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Matthew Rhys, Balthazar Getty) all have complicated lives. I was a sucker for this show and watched almost every episode.

I wrote in this blog that it was the family-owned business, and the dysfunction that it brings, that intrigued me. It’s about a guy who owns a produce business; he dies in the first episode, and the succession plan doesn’t always go as he planned, with his elder daughter in charge, much to the resentment of at least one of his sons. And it’s the sibling dynamic that fueled the show.

Sally Field won an Emmy in 2007 and was nominated in 2008 and 2009. By the last season, she was executive director of the show.

Lincoln (2012) – she was rightly nominated for an Oscar for playing Mary Todd Lincoln, Abe’s wife

Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015) – I enjoyed this

And she’s made countless guest appearances, many I’ve seen.

In February 2017, she will be appearing in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway.

One of those bits in her IMBD page– Quote: My agent said, “You aren’t good enough for movies”. I said, “You’re fired.”

Evidently, I’m very fond of Sally Field.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Actress Sally Field turns 70”

  1. I’ve been watching Sally Field since I was a kid and still love watching her. Wish I could see her in The Glass Menagerie.

  2. It’s funny how you only have to say, “I could quote her famous line” without quoting it, and most everyone will know what you mean. Among many gay men in the USA in particular, Steel Magnolias is a popular movie, and the line that we quote is, “Drink your juice Shelby”. But so much of her work is deeply part of pop culture in general that it keeps popping up in real life. For eample, when I was organising for my fellow workers and me to join a union many years ago, I told some other friends I was “going all Norma Rae…” No wonder we like her so much!

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