After a recent reading of the play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde in NYC, a fan asked Sally Field for the secret to her showbiz success. “There is none,” the actress said matter-of-factly. “You just have to want it more than you want to breathe and live.”
That relentless dedication has sustained Sally through difficult times professionally, when the studio system refused to take her seriously after her lightweight early successes on TV’s Gidget and The Flying Nun, then repeatedly abandoned her as she aged.
Sally on Gidget in 1965. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Yet in her personal life, Sally — who turns 69 on Nov. 6 — has never been sure of herself. “I’m a textbook case of a fatherless daughter,” says Sally, whose mom, actress Margaret Field, was left by her drugstore-owner husband, Richard, when Sally was 4.
“When you don’t have a nourishing relationship with a father as a child, you’re never certain how to get that in life. Consequently, I’ve always felt confused about what I want," she adds.
Sally and Burt in 1978. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Even as she’s suffered from panic attacks and bulimia, she’s largely gone it alone, as both of her marriages failed and her tabloid-fueled romance with Burt Reynolds flamed out. Still, she’s remained remarkably grounded at work.
“Sally seems to constantly embody her authentic self,” Lisa Jakub, who played one of her daughters in 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, tells Closer. “I really never saw her get carried away by the attention or any of the harsher aspects of Hollywood.”
To read the full story on Sally, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!