From humble beginnings to a dazzling legacy, this girl defied the doubters who once told her she wasn’t “pretty enough” for the film industry. With two Oscars under her belt, she not only conquered Hollywood but also nurtured three talented sons who followed in her footsteps.
This celebrated actress, director, and writer has a life story that’s as captivating as the roles she’s portrayed on screen. Born on November 6, 1946, in Pasadena, California, she was the youngest of two children born to an actress mother.
Growing up in a family deeply entwined with show business, her journey into the limelight was not always smooth. Her parents went through a divorce, and her mother later married an actor and stuntman who then became the girl’s stepfather.
He was known for his strict discipline and expected unwavering obedience from the young girl and her siblings. Frequent clashes between mother and stepfather cast a shadow over the household, affecting the children deeply. But for her, extracurricular activities at school offered a lifeline. As she once said:
“I’d landed in the drama department, and it just kind of saved me.”
The Birth of a Star
After graduating from high school, she embarked on an acting journey that would lay the foundation for her remarkable film and television career. Her first big break came in the form of the television series “Gidget,” debuting in 1965. At just 18 years old, Sally Field played the leading role of Gidget, a spirited teenager on a quest for fun alongside her best friend Larue.
Despite the series’ cancellation after just one season, Field had already captured the hearts of television audiences. She had become so popular that the network couldn’t resist creating another series tailor-made for her. The wings of “The Flying Nun” took off in September 1967, quickly soaring to new heights.
Viewers from all around the nation found joy in the adventures of the whimsical and light-as-air Sister Bertrille. This was not her preferred choice, as Field had reservations. Nevertheless, her stepfather, Mahoney, intervened, delivering a memorable ultimatum:
“If you turn down this part, you may never work again.”
Her talent and dedication were rewarded with two Academy Awards for Best Actress. The first Oscar was in the film “Norma Rae,” and the second for “Places in the Heart.” Her achievements extended to television, where she garnered Emmy awards, notably for her role in the 1976 TV movie “Sybil” and her later contributions to “ER” and “Brothers & Sisters.”
But success for Field wasn’t handed to her on a silver platter. Her path was filled with challenges, especially during the early stages of her career. Her efforts to make the transition into the movie industry faced significant resistance, including discouragement from her own agent. In April 2015, Field shared a significant anecdote during the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.
She revealed the blunt advice her agent had given her: “You can’t do that; you can’t get into film. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not good enough.” In response, Field took matters into her own hands and fired her agent. Her determination didn’t stop there.
At the same time, she made the brave decision to part ways with her husband, Steve Craig, who had expressed concerns about their financial future if she left television.
A Star-Studded Legacy
Field’s legacy transcends her own achievements. She is a proud mother to three sons, each of whom has carved their path in the entertainment industry. Her eldest, Peter Craig, is a screenwriter, producer, and novelist.
He is known for his work on blockbuster films such as “Bad Boys for Life,” “Blood Father,” “The Batman,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay,” “12 Strong,” “The Town,” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” Her second son, Eli Craig, has made his name as a director and writer specializing in the horror-comedy genre.
His work includes notable films like “Little Evil” and “Tucker and Dale vs Evil.” The youngest member of the Field clan, Sam Greisman, is a writer and producer. He is recognized for projects like “After School,” “Dinner with Jeffrey,” and “Playing Men.”
Field, at 77, stands as proof that the human spirit, when fueled by determination and talent, can achieve the extraordinary. The legendary actress celebrated the milestone on Monday, November 6, 2023. Hers is a story that resonates with millions, inspiring them to reach for the stars, no matter what obstacles they encounter on their way.