Sally Field Speaks Up

The award-winning actress and star of Brothers & Sisters speaks movingly about the wisdom and might of mothers, and why it took her a lifetime to really know who she is.
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Feisty Sally Field

"This is my favorite tree," Sally Field says, gazing out at the magnificent gnarled oak behind her hilltop Malibu home. She points out a broken limb here and there, and scorched bark from previous California wildfires. "It's been around a long time and as you can see it's come into contact with some struggle and hard times over the years. But it's still alive and still enjoying life."

Field flashes that exuberant smile of hers, enjoying her metaphor. The actress, looking youthful as ever despite a few laugh lines, has been famous for more than 40 years, a period that's seen staggering success as well as some personal setbacks. On one hand, she's lived a picture-perfect Hollywood existence, including her latest hit TV drama, Brothers & Sisters. Off camera, though, Field has seen relationships come and go, and worked hard to juggle her big career with caring for three children. (Sons Peter, 38, and Elijah, 35, are from her first marriage, to Steven Craig; youngest son Sam, 20, is from her second marriage, to Alan Greisman, which also ended in divorce.) Her family tree has grown to include three grandchildren, whose gear -- tubs of colored markers, pink princess toys, and fabulous noodle art -- is a key element of her decor.

Now 61 and single, Field shares her homey upscale farmhouse with her octogenarian mother, Maggie, who moved in last year, and two dogs: a delightful golden retriever named Phoebe, and Roxie, her mother's distinguished-looking standard poodle. Field, dressed in a formfitting purple cardigan, brown sweats, and fuzzy moccasins, invites me to make myself at home on a rattan couch with plump cushions and needlepoint pillows. Though she's only 5-foot-2, Field commands attention, and her humility is enough to make you (almost) forget the gleaming statuettes on a nearby bookshelf: the Oscars for 1979's Norma Rae and 1984's Places in the Heart, which prompted her famous "You like me!" speech, and three Emmys, including the one she earned last year for Brothers & Sisters. That, too, inspired a memorable speech. Winning for her role as Nora Walker, the mother of five children, including a son suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after fighting in Iraq, Field dedicated the award to mothers everywhere. "If mothers ruled the world," she said that night, "there would be no god----ed wars in the first place." Over the course of two hours Field proves to be passionate and feisty away from the podium as well.

Continued on page 2:  Speaking Out

 

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