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Sally Field Opens up About Ageism in Hollywood: ‘It’s Awful’

The 77-year-old award-winning actress gets candid with Julia Louis Dreyfus on the Season 2 premiere of ‘Wiser Than Me’

spinner image Sally Field and Julia Louis Dreyfus
(Left to right) Sally Field and Julia Louis Dreyfus
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images; Courtesy: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos)

Sally Field says she’s done people-pleasing.

“There is a sense in society that you should feel ashamed for being old ... and I realized what a crock that is,” Field says on the Season 2 premiere of Julia Louis Dreyfus’s award-winning podcast ‘Wiser Than Me,’ in which Dreyfus, 63, taps into the wisdom of influential women over 70 (like Jane Fonda).

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Despite being firmly on Hollywood’s A-list, Field, 77, says it’s only recently that she’s been able to look back at her long list of accolades – including two Oscars for best actress and a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild – and give herself credit for her accomplishments.

“I’ve always felt I had to keep my head down, that you can’t look up, you can never pat yourself on the back. You just have to look for the next place to land,” says Field.

Field is on more solid ground in her late 70s and says that every new decade feels monumental for her and wonders what the next one will bring. While getting older is exciting for Field, she knows the industry that brought her to stardom doesn’t hold the same enthusiasm for aging women.

“Obviously, it’s awful,” responded Field, when Dreyfus prompted her about her views on ageism in Hollywood.

spinner image Actress and podcast host Julia Louis Dreyfus
Courtesy: Lemonada

“There’s just so few real stories written about women of any age, but certainly, certainly as you get older it gets less and less and less and less and less. And it’s usually women who are looking for a man,” she says. “There are so many other stories you could have told.”

Field also dishes about how becoming a mother “saved her life” and details the intricacies of being a grandmother. Field has five grandchildren and says those relationships are much more difficult than the “idyllic” detached responsibility many seem to think of with grandparenting.

“You have to get to know a whole different group of people, and they are raised by different people, so you have to know what that framework is,” says Field. “And then you have to find a place that you land together. Someplace that belongs just to the two of you, and that this is what you do together, that’s just yours. Otherwise, you’re just a glorified babysitter.”

The raw, earnest introspection Field divulges on ‘Wiser Than Me’ is similar to the candid nature of her 2018 memoir, which recounts her past sexual abuse, her relationship with her mother and her romance with Burt Reynolds.

“I think that’s partly what aging does. You don’t mean to do it. When you have so much more life behind you certainly than you have ahead of you, you can’t help but gather up the things you know for sure and try to sift them and put them in a little pile,” she says.

Season 2 of the ‘Wiser Than Me’ podcast will include conversations with award-winning women such as Julie Andrews, 88, and Gloria Steinem, 90. It is available on all major podcast platforms, and new episodes will be released weekly.

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