Sally Margaret Field was born in Pasadena, California to actress Margaret Field and salesman Richard Dryden Field. Her parents divorced in 1950 and her mother remarried a stuntman named Jock Mahoney. They gave Sally a half-sister named Princess and she also has a brother named Richard. Sally’s acting career began in 1965 when she landed the role of Frances Elizabeth “Gidget” Lawrence on the ABC sitcom Gidget. Though it was cancelled after just one season, Field went onto star on the ABC sitcom The Flying Nun, which ran for three seasons and appeared in her first film in 1967, The Way West, opposite Kirk Douglas. From then on, Sally has been a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. She’s won two Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role and has worked with some of the biggest names in the business such as Tom Hanks and Robin Williams. She’s also appeared in numerous television movies and won an Emmy for her work on the ABC family drama Brothers & Sisters. In honor of her 67th birthday, here is a Top 10 list of Sally Field movies.
10. The Amazing Spider-Man: This 2012 action fantasy had Field playing the iconic role of Aunt May, Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s aunt. Co-starring with Andrew Garfield, Denis Leary, Rhys Ifans and Martin Sheen, Field showed May’s love for Peter and her concern as only Field can, with touching realism and heart.
9. Norma Rae: Field won her first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in this 1979 drama. She played the title character, a working mother who worked at a factory in North Carolina. After hearing a speech from a New York union organizer, she became an advocate for unionizing the factory to stop the meager pay and horrid working conditions. Field’s portrayal of Norma Rae showed audiences and critics how an actress can infuse a role with such fire that the character jumps from the silver screen and into the hearts of moviegoers.
8. Lincoln: Directed by Steven Spielberg, this 2012 biographical historical drama had Field playing President Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. Field depicted Mary Todd as a no-nonsense woman who stood by her husband with unwavering devotion. Opposite Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones, Field gave a moving performance as the first lady of the United States during a time of great strife and upheaval and Field played in perfectly!
7. Eye for an Eye: This 1996 crime thriller had Field playing Karen McCann, a happily married woman, whose life was turned upside down when her 17-year-old daughter was raped and murdered and her killer, Robert Doob, played with eerie precision by Kiefer Sutherland, got off on a technicality. Field gave Karen unwavering resolve to see justice done for her daughter, to protect her other young daughter and protect others from Doob. Karen began a vigilante-type crusade to catch Doob and in the final minutes of the film, set a trap for him so his death looked like self-defense when he broke into her house to kill her. No one should lose a child so violently, but Field expressed steadfast determination to see her character’s daughter’s killer taken down.
6. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde: This 2003 comedy had Field starring opposite Reese Witherspoon. Field played Congresswoman Victoria Rudd, who Witherspoon’s Elle works with to bring about legislation in Washington DC to stop animal testing by cosmetics companies. Field’s penchant for playing nice characters was slightly tarnished with this role as she double-crossed Elle because a major contributor of hers just bought stock in a cosmetics company that wanted to continue testing on animals. Field brought an underhanded, sneaky quality to the role that fans weren’t used to seeing from her. Of course, in the end, Elle prevailed and her legislation against animal testing passed with Field’s Rudd ultimately giving in and showing she wasn’t so bad after all.
5. Mrs. Doubtfire: This 1993 comedy had Field sharing the screen with the always hilarious Robin Williams. Field played Miranda Hillard, a successful interior designer unhappy in her marriage to always between jobs funnyman Daniel Hillard (Williams.) They decide to divorce and when he’s denied the time he wants with their three kids, Williams’ character disguised himself as an older British woman to be Miranda’s housekeeper and the kids’ nanny. Hilarity ensued especially when Daniel’s ruse was revealed, Field’s classic off-the-wall reactions made the truth that much funnier and Field and Williams worked off each other brilliantly!
4. Not Without My Daughter: This 1991 drama/thriller had Field playing an American citizen named Betty Mahmoody, who was on a desperate crusade to escape from her husband, who took her and their young daughter with him to Iran. Field’s interpretation of a woman determined to flee her abusive husband and dangerous country was riveting. The trials and dangers that Field’s character faced with her young daughter made moviegoers root for them to find some way out. The final scene of Field holding her daughter in her arms as she saw the American flag in the distance was true tear-jerking moment.
3. Steel Magnolias: This 1989 romantic drama was based on a 1987 play of the same name by Robert Harling. Field played M’Lynn Eatenton, a woman with a small circle of friends in a small town in Louisiana. Co-starring with Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton Tom Skeritt, Julia Roberts and Dylan McDermott, Field gave an all-out performance as mother dealing with a grown daughter with Type 1 diabetes (Roberts.) Field expressed raw emotion throughout the film especially when daughter Shelby died from complications after a kidney transplant. Field, Dukakis, McLaine, Hannah and Parton showed moviegoers the true meaning of friendship and sisterhood as they consoled Field’s character following her devastating loss. Field’s gut-wrenching performance truly showed that her talent for drama is as good as her talent for comedy.
2. Soapdish: – This 1991 screwball romantic comedy produced by Aaron Spelling had Field playing a soap opera diva. Field played Celeste Talbert, an actress on the long-running daytime drama, The Sun Also Sets. Joined by Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue, Robert Downey Jr., Carrie Fisher, Teri Hatcher and Cathy Moriarty, Field played a Susan Lucci-esque type character always warding off plots by her co-stars and getting into hysterical situations off-screen as well as on. Field’s on-the-spot comedic timing and slapstick humor made this movie a nonstop laughfest and a cult favorite.
1. Forrest Gump: This 1994 romantic drama had Field co-starring with Tom Hanks, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal as the title character. Field played Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump’s mother. With a spot-on southern accent, Field gave Mrs. Gump a resolute drive to make sure her son, though a tad slow, would get the same opportunities as other children. Field and Hanks’ bond as mother and son came across full-blast on screen as Field portrayed a mother who would do anything for her son.