Sally Field exudes such a feisty, youthful charm that it’s hard to imagine it’s been 56 years since her star-making turn as a boy-crazed surfer in Gidget. On Nov. 6, the acting legend turns 75, so now is a great time to look back on her decades of fantastic roles, which have earned her two Oscars, three Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Tony nomination. Her performances have run the gamut from playful fun (Smokey and the Bandit, The Flying Nun) to deadly serious (Absence of Malice, The Glass Menagerie on Broadway), but no matter the role, Field’s good-natured warmth always shines through. Here, 10 of our favorites from Sally’s half-century on the screen — including the part we liked most, inspired by her infamous Oscar acceptance speech: “And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!” Sound off below in the comments with any of your top picks that didn’t make the cut.
10: Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011)
The plot: If you’re a fan of This Is Us or Thirtysomething, you’ll love this soapy family drama, which ran for five seasons on ABC and followed the Walker clan through the highs and the very lows (PTSD, cancer, divorce, overdoses, war, fatal car accidents, an HIV diagnosis...). Field won an Emmy and a SAG Award for her role as Nora Walker, a mother of five grown children, who loses her husband (Tom Skerritt, 88) to a heart attack in the pilot and then quickly learns that he was hiding a number of secrets — of both the financial crimes and extramarital affair varieties.
The part we like: If you want to see how Field earned her Emmy, check out the Season 1 episode she submitted for consideration, “Mistakes Were Made (Part 2),” in which she finds out that her war-veteran son Justin (Dave Annable) has attempted suicide.
9: Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015)
The plot: Field makes magic out of her first leading role in nearly two decades, as a shy, 60-something woman who falls for a much younger new coworker at her office named John (played by Max Greenfield, who you might recognize from sitcoms The Neighborhood and New Girl). A bundle of eccentricities, Doris is a hoarder who loses herself in elaborate romantic daydreams, but her crush is never written off as a joke or something to be pitied, even when she turns to increasingly desperate schemes to attract John’s attention. It’s no wonder she got nominated for an AARP Movies for Grownups Award.
The part we like: You’ll love the camaraderie between Doris and her best friend Roz (Tyne Daly, 75) — and Roz’s 13-year-old granddaughter Vivian (Isabella Acres), who helps Doris with her romantic scheming.
8: Soapdish (1991)
The plot: Never before or since has Field had the chance to chew the scenery as gleefully as she did in this raucous farce about the behind-the-scenes dealings of a soap opera called The Sun Also Sets. No surprise: The off-screen drama is just as juicy as the show itself. Field stars as the insecure daytime diva Celeste Talbert, who must contend with an ambitious young rival (Cathy Moriarty, 60), a conniving producer (Robert Downey Jr., 56) and a killed-off former costar — and ex-lover (Kevin Kline, 74) — who is rescued from his stint in a Florida dinner theater to knock her off her game.
The part we like: In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, show writer Rose (Whoopi Goldberg, 65) takes Celeste to a mall in New Jersey so she can have her ego stroked by throngs of adoring fans.
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