Fierce desire and hard work propel Sally Field’s
career. “I’ve always believed in being who you are,
whatever it is that you do. Do it because you deeply
want to be doing it, because you’re deeply driven,”
Field tells SUCCESS. “I did acting. It has always been
about the work, not because it’s glamorous, not for
wealth or fame. I had some deep desire to be an actor.
I always pushed myself. I wanted to be better and
better and better and better.”
Field participated in a Columbia Studios workshop as a
teen, and that led to her TV role as Gidget, but only after
“She has this unerring endurance,” says her son Eli Craig.
“If I had a choice between her and [Army Gen.] Norman
Schwarzkopf on the battle lines, I’d probably choose her.”
Field’s persistence paid off. Even as she starred in
The Flying Nun, she prepared for meatier dramatic roles
by attending the Actors Studio with famed teacher Lee
Strasberg. After multiple auditions, she won roles in the
film Stay Hungry and the made-for-TV movie Sybil. Those
performances were so highly regarded that directors started
coming to her with challenging roles, such as Academy
Award-winning parts in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart.
Now in her early 60s, Field stars in TV’s Brothers & Sisters
and typically has a weekday away from the set to spend time
with her three sons and three grandchildren. She professes
contentment: “My life is so full.”
PAY YOUR DUES. Learn what you need to know.
Be ready to prove yourself.
CONFIDENCE IS OVERRATED. “I don’t think anybody
is really confident,” Field says. “You may wonder
if you’re prepared enough, smart enough, doing
enough. The chinks in your armor are where your
gold is. They keep you striving to do better.”
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Field gets regular exercise
and check-ups. She advocates keeping a nimble
mind, too. “I have to memorize a huge amount of
dialogue instantly for Brothers & Sisters, and that
keeps my mind sharp.”
SCHEDULE TIME WITH FAMILY for a balanced life.
Stay in touch.
TRY NEW THINGS. Starring film roles are scarce
for aging female actors, so Field branched out into
character parts such as the mom in Forrest Gump
(1994). She produced and acted in the madefor-
TV movie A Woman of Independent Means
(1995). She turned to directing in Beautiful (2000),
and its star, Minnie Driver, calls her “a truly great
director.” Whoopi Goldberg, a co-star in Soapdish,
compliments Field as “willing to change and to
evolve. There’ll always be Sally Field.”