Field was born in Pasadena, California. Her parents, Richard
Dryden Field and Margaret Field (a Southern-born actress),
divorced in 1950. Her mother re-married to a former stunt-man,
Western actor Jock Mahoney.
Sally Field got her start on television, starring as the boy-struck surfer girl in the mid-1960s series Gidget. She then went on to star in The Flying Nun and The Girl with Something Extra.
Sally Field's first major role was in 1965's sitcom Gidget.Having played mostly comic characters on television, Field was not initially regarded as having much potential as a dramatic actress. In 1976, Field was finally able to show that she could play this kind of role, starring as the title character afflicted with multiple personality syndrome in the TV film Sybil. She won an Emmy Award in 1977 for this performance. In 1979, she starred as a union organizer in Norma Rae, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 1981, Sally Field played a prostitute opposite Tommy Lee Jones in the South-set comedy Back Roads, which received middling reviews and grossed $11 million at the box office.
She won another Oscar in 1985 for her starring role in Places in the Heart; her gushing acceptance speech is one of the best known of its kind. In it, she stated "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!" . The line ending in "...I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" is often misremembered as simply "You like me, you really like me!" which has subsequently been the subject of many parodies.
Sally Field has had supporting roles in other movies, including Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994).
On television, Sally Field has a recurring role on ER as Dr. Abby Lockhart's bipolar mother, for which she won an Emmy in 2001. She also starred in the very short-lived 2002 series The Court.
Field dated Burt Reynolds for many years, but never accepted his proposals of marriage. She was first married to Steven Craig from 1968 to 1975. In 1984, she married Alan Greisman, but divorced again in 1993. Field has two sons from her first marriage — one of whom is novelist Peter Craig — and a third son from her second marriage, Sam Greisman, who is close friends with the 'Young Hollywood' crowd, like Lindsay Lohan.
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