Capturing The Iconic Sally Fields Throughout The Years

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Aug 06, 2023

Experience the life of Hollywood legend Sally Field through forty of her most iconic moments and roles. From her award-winning performances to her star-studded relationships, health struggles, and activism.

Her trademark smile and grace have lit up our screens for decades – from Smokey and the Bandit to Gidget, Mrs. Doubtfire to her recent Kennedy Center Honoree status. Sally has inspired us to reach for the stars. Come explore the behind-the-scenes look at the beloved actress’s career.

Headshot of Stardom: The Early Years of Sally Field 

Before she became an acclaimed actress, Sally Field was a talented high school cheerleader from Pasadena, California. Born on November 6, 1946, to actress Margaret Field and army officer Richard Dryden Field, Sally began her career in the entertainment industry at an early age. 

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This 1965 headshot captures a young Sally Field with the ambition and determination to make it big. Her dreams have since come true, and she is now one of the most celebrated actors of her generation.

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Pioneering a Generation: Sally Field's Rise to Stardom 

In 1965, Sally Field made waves in the entertainment industry with her portrayal of Frances “Gidget” Lawrence, a So-Cal surfer girl in the revolutionary sitcom Gidget. This trailblazing role was one of the first to feature leading female characters on television and marked the start of Sally’s illustrious career.

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Despite Gidget’s limited run, it paved the way for a generation of empowered women on the small screen. Sally and her career went on to evolve and continue to inspire viewers today with her incredible talent and inspiring story.

Sally's Unexpected Flight to Fame

In 1967, Sally Field made a radical transformation from a beach-goer to a nun, as she famously starred in the hit TV show The Flying Nun. Despite the sitcom’s success, Sally wasn’t thrilled with her role as Sister Bertrille. 

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She revealed to Oprah in 2008: “I didn’t want to do it. I was trying to figure out who I was, but I knew who I wasn’t: a flying nun.” From beach-goer to flying nun, Sally’s unexpected flight to fame has left a lasting legacy in popular culture.

Reunited after 30 Years: Sally Field Remarries High School Sweetheart 

Sally Field and Steven Craig were high school sweethearts that tied the knot once! The couple, who married in 1968, have two boys, Peter and Elijah Craig, born during their seven-year marriage. 

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After years together, Sally and Steven found that their love was more suited to a platonic nature and made the tough decision to separate. However, their love story remains to inspire many of her fans..

Sally Field's Iconic Performance in 'Sybil' - An Emmy Award Winning Masterpiece

Sally Field’s unforgettable performance in the 1976 TV movie Sybil was a game-changer for her career. Taking on the titular role, Sally’s portrayal of a student with multiple-personality disorder earned her her first Emmy award. 

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In an interview with Oprah, Sally said the role “changed everything” for her, and it’s no wonder why. Her captivating performance was an incredibly powerful and moving display of her dramatic capabilities. It’s no surprise that Sybil is still remembered as an Emmy award-winning masterpiece.

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Sally Field's Starring Debut in a Box Office Smash: Stay Hungry 

In 1976, Sally Field made her debut as a leading lady in the big-screen hit Stay Hungry. The film, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jeff Bridges, was a comedic tale of a bodybuilder who refuses to let go of his beloved gym. 

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It was an instant success, captivating moviegoers with its lighthearted yet meaningful story. This beloved classic continues to be popular with moviegoers, and marks the beginning of Sally Field’s long and illustrious career.

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Sally Fields' Instant Classic: Smokey and the Bandit 

Sally Field was given the opportunity of a lifetime when Burt Reynolds personally called her to star in the iconic 1977 film, Smokey and the Bandit. Despite the less than stellar script, Reynolds put his trust in Field to make it a success.

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She later told Oprah, “He said he had this movie and the script wasn’t very good, but that he trusted me and would make it work.” This classic movie has become a staple of American culture and an important piece of Sally Field’s career.

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A Classic Love Story: Sally and Burt in Smokey and the Bandit 

The classic 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit was not only the start of a beloved trilogy, but of a timeless romance as well. It was on the set of the movie that Sally and Burt first met, and began a passionate on-and-off relationship that lasted three years. 

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The two had undeniable chemistry and always found their way back to each other. They may not have had a happily-ever-after ending, but Sally and Burt’s relationship will always be remembered as one of the most iconic love stories of the time.

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Sally's Unfortunate Journey Beyond the Poseidon Adventure 

Seven years after the original Poseidon Adventure movie hit the screens, Sally took a daring plunge and acted in the sequel. Regrettably, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure wasn’t met with the same enthusiasm as the first installment. 

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Despite receiving mixed reviews, Sally remained undaunted in her pursuit of greatness, determined to make a mark in the film industry. She bravely ventured into the unknown, embracing the challenge with a resilient spirit.

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Sally Field: A Journey from Comedy to Oscar-Winning Drama 

Sally Field is an amazing example of an actor who has achieved remarkable success by rising through the ranks. Able to transition from comedy to drama, Sally quickly made a name for herself, eventually earning an Oscar for Best Actress in the 1980 film Norma Rae. 

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Her career is a testament to her determination and sheer talent, proving that she is more than capable of taking on any role, no matter the genre. Her outstanding performance in Norma Rae is a prime example of this, showcasing her truly extraordinary range.

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A Night to Remember - Sally Field & Dustin Hoffman Share the Spotlight at the 1980 Academy Awards 

On the night of the 1980 Academy Awards, Sally Field and Dustin Hoffman achieved a historic moment that neither would soon forget. As Hoffman took home the Best Actor award for his role in Kramer vs Kramer. 

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Field shared the spotlight and made her first of two Academy Award appearances. Little did they know that night, but they would become no strangers to the awards show. This star-studded night was one that will live on in cinematic history.

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Smokey and the Bandit II: Reunited, but Not for Long

In 1980, Sally Field and Burt Reynolds joined forces once more as they reunited for the hit movie Smokey and the Bandit II. However, despite the success of the movie, their relationship failed to last and Sally described it as “confusing and complicated”. 

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In 2018, she revealed to The New York Times that the ending of their relationship was “hurtful” but not without loving and caring. It’s a story of love and loss, of a complicated but lasting bond.

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Sally Field's Career-Defining Moment 

Sally Field’s iconic performance in 1984’s Places in the Heart cemented her status as a Hollywood legend. When accepting her Best Actress award at the 57th Academy Awards, she uttered the now-famous words: 

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“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!” This moment marked a defining point in Sally’s illustrious career, and has forever immortalized her talent.

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Love and Heartbreak: The Sally Field and Alan Greisman Story 

Love was in the air in 1984 when Sally Field and Alan Greisman tied the knot. They went on to have a son, Samuel, yet sadly their marriage was not meant to last and they parted ways in 1993. 

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Though their romance did not last, they will always have the memories of their time together and the bond they share through their son. It’s a story of love and heartbreak that will never be forgotten.

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A Tale of Two Stars: Sally Field & Tom Hanks' Reunited in Punchline 

Before they became an iconic movie duo in Forrest Gump, Sally Field and Tom Hanks had already shared the silver screen together in 1988’s Punchline. The hilarious comedy follows a young stand-up comic who helps a housewife break into the comedy field. 

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Together, these two beloved stars bring the story to life, creating an unforgettable movie experience. So, if you’re looking for a laugh, be sure to check out Punchline and enjoy the talents of Sally Field and Tom Hanks!

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Sally Field: A Champion of Women's Rights 

For over three decades, Sally Field has been a powerful advocate of women’s rights. Her commitment to the cause was evident in 1989 when she was photographed standing with her son Samuel at a women’s rights rally. 

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Field’s dedication to gender equality has inspired others to join the fight for a better future for women everywhere. She has consistently demonstrated that everyone can be a leader in their own way, no matter their age or gender. Let’s follow Sally’s example and continue to champion the cause of women’s rights.

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Sally Field Joins Star-Studded Cast in Iconic 1989 Film Steel Magnolias 

In 1989, Sally Field joined a star-studded cast including Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts for the iconic dramedy, Steel Magnolias. 

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Brought to life by the powerful performances of its all-star cast, the film was a hit with audiences and critics alike, leading to Sally’s nomination for a Golden Globe. Steel Magnolias is one of the most beloved films of its time, and its star-studded cast continues to shine a light on Sally Field’s talent and success.

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Sally Field Brightens Up Saturday Night Live 

In 1993, Sally Field showed off her comedic chops to the world. She had just finished co-starring with the legendary Robin Williams in the hit film Mrs. Doubtfire, in which the two actors had viewers laughing uproariously. 

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But Sally wasn’t done yet—she went on to host Saturday Night Live, bringing her unique brand of humor to the iconic show. With her wit and charm, she brightened up the stage and left audiences in stitches. It was a night to remember, and Sally was the star of the show!

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A Tale of Unbelievable Onscreen Chemistry: Sally Field and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump 

In 1994, Sally Field and Tom Hanks made cinematic history with their performance in Forrest Gump. Field played Hanks’s mother, despite being just nine years his senior, and their chemistry was nothing short of remarkable. 

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The film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture at the 67th Academy Awards, further cementing its status as a timeless classic. The chemistry between Field and Hanks was crucial in creating the heartwarming and beloved movie that continues to entertain audiences today.

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Sally Field's Groundbreaking Debut: The Christmas Tree 

After an incredible three decades in the spotlight, Sally Field stepped behind the camera to direct her first film – The Christmas Tree. Released as a made-for-TV movie, this heartwarming tale featured an ensemble cast of non-flying nuns. 

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Unforgettable and inspiring, Sally Field’s directorial debut was an instant success, proving that she had yet another talent to add to her repertoire. With The Christmas Tree, Sally Field showed the world that there was no limit to her creative potential!

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Raising Kids to be Parents: An Oscar Moment for Sally Field 

Sally Field has achieved great success in her career, but it’s her family that has earned her the biggest reward. When chatting with Oprah, Sally shared that raising her sons, to eventually become parents themselves was her “Oscar moment in life”. 

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The 1998 photo of Sally with her eldest and youngest sons captures a beautiful moment of joy and pride. Indeed, Sally Field has been blessed with a beautiful family, and the love of her children and grandchildren is her greatest award.

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Sally Field Shines Despite Negative Reviews of Beautiful 

Despite mixed reviews from critics, Sally Field proudly showcased her signature smile at the London premiere of her feature film directorial debut, Beautiful, in 2000. Her determination in the face of adversity was evident, proving that nothing can hold her back from achieving her goals. 

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Even though the reviews weren’t favorable, she still beamed with pride at the premiere, showing the world her resilience and optimistic spirit. Sally Field’s unwavering spirit is an inspiration to all who witness it.

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Sally Field's Triumphant Comeback on ER 

The turn of the millennium saw Sally Field make a triumphant return to the small screen, starring as the bipolar mother of Maura Tierney’s Nurse Abigail “Abby” Lockhart in the critically acclaimed medical drama ER. 

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In her remarkable performance, Field captivated audiences with her nuanced depiction of a complex character, once again cementing her place as an icon of the television industry. Her return to the limelight marked the beginning of a new era of recognition.

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Sally Field's Triumphant Return to the Award Show Stage 

Sally Field made a triumphant return to the award show stage in 2001, when she won the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in ER. Her victory was a testament to her immense talent, as well as a celebration of her triumphant return to television. 

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After a brief absence from the small screen, Sally Field was once again the star of the show, taking home the award and reminding us why she is one of the greatest actresses of our time.

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Rally with Sally: A Movement for Bone Health 

Sally Field was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2005, and her response was to take action. She founded the Rally with Sally foundation, a movement dedicated to promoting bone health for millions of Americans. 

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Through her foundation, Sally has raised awareness about the importance of bone health, and encouraged people to take the necessary steps to protect their bones. The Rally with Sally initiative is a testament to Sally’s courage and commitment to helping those affected by this condition. Join the movement and Rally with Sally for bone health!

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