Field is a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984). She has received three Emmy Awards for her title role in the TV film Sybil (1976), her guest role on ER (2000), and her role as Nora Holden Walker on ABC's series Brothers & Sisters (2007). She has also won two Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress, as well as the Best Female Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Norma Rae (1979). In 2012 Field's widely praised portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln brought her Best Supporting Actress nominations for the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Sally Field was born in Pasadena, California. Her father, Richard Dryden Field, was an Army officer, and her mother Margaret Field (née Morlan) was an actress. Her parents divorced in 1950; her mother later married actor and stuntman Jock Mahoney.
Field attended Portola Middle School, followed by Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, where she was a cheerleader. Her classmates included infamous financier Michael Milken, actress Cindy Williams (of Laverne & Shirley fame) and Michael Ovitz of Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Field got her start on television as the boy-crazy surfer girl in the sitcom Gidget (1965-66). The show was not an initial success and was canceled after a single season. However, summer reruns garnered respectable ratings and ABC had a belated success. Industry practice at the time did not allow for canceled shows to be resurrected, so the network scrambled to find a new starring vehicle for Field. The result was The Flying Nun (1967-70), where Field portrayed Sister Bertrille for three seasons. In an interview included on the Season One DVD release, Field said that she thoroughly enjoyed Gidget, but hated The Flying Nun, because she was not treated with respect by the show's directors. Field was then typecast and finding respectable roles was difficult. She later starred opposite John Davidson in the short-lived series The Girl with Something Extra (1973-74), playing a young woman trying to lead a normal life despite her telepathic abilities.
In 1971, Field starred in the ABC TV movie Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring, playing a discouraged teen runaway who returns home with a bearded drug-abusing hippie (played by David Carradine). She made several guest television appearances through the mid-1970s, including a recurring role on the western comedy Alias Smith and Jones (starring Pete Duel, with whom she had worked on Gidget) and in the Night Gallery episode "Whisper".
She studied with the esteemed acting teacher Lee Strasberg, who had previously helped Marilyn Monroe transcend the "bimbo" roles with which her career had begun.
Soon afterward, Field landed the title role in the 1976 TV film Sybil, based on the book by Flora Rheta Schreiber. Her dramatic portrayal of a young woman afflicted with Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as multiple personality disorder) not only earned her an Emmy Award (in 1977) but enabled her to break through the typecasting of her sitcom work.
While on The Flying Nun, Field tried her hand at singing. She sang on the soundtrack for The Flying Nun in 1967, and sang The Flying Nun theme song "Who Needs Wings to Fly". The same year she made it into the Billboard Hot 100 with her single "Felicidad". In 2008 she sang on the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning.
Field made her film debut with a small part in Moon Pilot (1962). Her first major film role was in The Way West (1967). In 1977 she costarred with Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason and Jerry Reed in that year's #2 grossing film, Smokey and the Bandit.
In 1979 Field played the eponymous union organizer in Norma Rae, a successful film that established her as a dramatic actress. Vincent Canby, reviewing the film for the New York Times, wrote: "Norma Rae is a seriously concerned contemporary drama, illuminated by some very good performances and one, Miss Field's, that is spectacular." For her role in Norma Rae, Field won the Best Female Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Field appeared with Reynolds in three more films: (The End, Hooper and Smokey and the Bandit II). In 1981, she continued to change her image, playing a foul-mouthed prostitute opposite Tommy Lee Jones in the South-set film Back Roads. She received Golden Globe nominations for the 1981 drama Absence of Malice and the 1982 comedy Kiss Me Goodbye.
Then came a second Oscar for her starring role in the 1984 drama Places in the Heart. Field's gushing acceptance speech is well remembered and has since been both admired as earnest and parodied as excessive. She said, "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it"and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" Fields was actually making a humorous reference to dialog from her role in Norma Rae, but many people missed the connection. Field even parodied herself when she delivered the line (often misquoted as "You like me, you really like me!" ) in a Charles Schwab commercial.
The following year, she costarred with James Garner in the romantic comedy Murphy's Romance. In A&E's biography of Garner, she cited her on-screen kiss with Garner as the best cinematic kiss she ever had.
Field appeared on the cover of the March 1986 issue of Playboy magazine, in which she was the interview subject. She did not appear as a pictorial subject in the magazine, although she did wear the classic leotard and bunny-ears outfit on the cover. That year, she received the Women in Film [[Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards#THE CRYSTAL AWARD|Crystal Award]].
For her role as matriarch M'Lynn in the film version of Steel Magnolias (1989), she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She had supporting roles in a number of other movies, including Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) in which she played Miranda Hillard, the wife of Robin Williams's character and the love interest of Pierce Brosnan's character Stuart 'Stu' Dunmyer. She then played the mother of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994), even though she was only 10 years older than Hanks, with whom she had costarred six years earlier in Punchline.
Field's other 1990s films included Not Without My Daughter, a controversial thriller based on the real-life experience of Betty Mahmoody's escape from Iran with her daughter Mahtob; and Soapdish, a comedy in which she played pampered soap-opera star Celeste Talbert, and was joined by an all-star cast including Kevin Kline, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Shue and Robert Downey, Jr. In 1996 Field received the Berlinale Camera award at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival for her role as a grieving vigilante mother in director John Schlesinger's film Eye for an Eye. She co-starred with Natalie Portman in Where the Heart Is (2000) and appeared opposite Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.
In November 2009, Field appeared on an episode of The Doctors to talk about osteoporosis and her Rally With Sally Foundation.
Field had a recurring role on ER in the 2000-01 season as Dr. Abby Lockhart's mother, Maggie, who suffers from bipolar disorder, a role for which she won an Emmy Award in 2001. After her critically acclaimed stint on the show, she returned to the role in 2003 and 2006. She also starred in the very short-lived 2002 series The Court.
Field's directorial career began with the television film The Christmas Tree (1966). In 1998 she directed the episode "The Original Wives' Club" of the critically acclaimed TV mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, also playing a minor role as Trudy, the wife of astronaut Gordon Cooper. In 2000 she directed the feature film Beautiful.
Field was a late addition to the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters, which debuted in September 2006. In the show's pilot, the role of matriarch Nora Walker was played by actress Betty Buckley. However, the show's producers decided to take the character in another direction, and offered the part to Field, who won the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance. The drama also starred Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths as Nora's adult daughters.
Field had the voice role of Marina del Rey, the primary antagonist in Disney's The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, released in August 2008.
In 2005, Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her diagnosis led her to create the "Rally With Sally For Bone Health" campaign with support from Roche and GlaxoSmithKline that controversially co-promoted Boniva, a bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis. Field's campaign encouraged early diagnosis of such conditions through technology such as bone-density scans.
During the 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Field's acceptance speech contained an anti-war statement in which she said: "If the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamn wars in the first place." Fox, which aired the Emmys, cut the sound and picture after the word "god" and did not cut back to the stage after Field finished talking. An e-mail statement from the company the day after the incident explained that the censorship of Field's speech (amongst two other censorship incidents during the award ceremony) occurred because, "some language during the live broadcast may have been considered inappropriate by some viewers. As a result, Fox's broadcast standards executives determined it appropriate to drop sound and picture during those portions of the show."
Sally Field is a Democrat and she supported Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2008 presidential election.
Field is a dedicated advocate for women's rights. She has served on the board of directors of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international women's NGO, and has co-hosted the Global Leadership Awards six times.
Field is also an activist for gay rights. In 2012 she won the Human Rights Campaign's Ally for Equality Award (her youngest son, Sam, has come out as gay).
Field married Steven Craig in 1968. The couple had two sons: Peter Craig, a novelist, and Eli Craig, an actor and director. Craig and Field divorced in 1975. She married film producer Alan Greisman in 1984, and they had one son, Sam in 1987; Field and Greisman divorced in 1993.
On October 29, 1988, Field and her family survived a crash after their charter plane lost power on takeoff. They all survived with minor injuries.
Nominated"Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Academy Award for Best Actress Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama Best Actress Award (Cannes Film Festival) American Movie Award for Best Actress Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress National Board of Review Award for Best Actress National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated"BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated"Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress
African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nevada Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated"Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Detroit Film Critics Society for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Nominated"Houston Film Critics Society for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated"Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated"Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble Nominated"Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Merry Christmas, George Bailey
Bess Alcott Steed Garner
Television miniseries Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated"Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Miniseries or Television Film Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
From the Earth to the Moon
Trudy Cooper; also directed
Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Aunt Betsey Trotwood
Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Recurring role Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2001) Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2003) Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000)
109 episodes Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2007) Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2009) Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline (2008) Nominated"Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Drama (2008, 2009) Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2008, 2009) Nominated"Satellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series Drama (2007, 2008) Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2008) Nominated"People's Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Star (2008, 2009)