Sally Field: “Acting Set Me Free”

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In an exclusive for Parade, available this weekend, the forever young Oscar-winning actress discusses her leading men, including the late Burt Reynolds, her escape from a traumatic childhood and her anti-aging secrets.
Forever Young, Forever Tough. Field, 71, credits “genetics” for the “constantly girlish quality” that’s been her signature look. “I’ve heard people say I’ve always been the girl next door, the all-American girl. I think my story—a female, born in the ’40s and raised in the ’50s and growing up in a male-dominated business, in a male-dominated household and a male-dominated society—I am the all-American girl. Because that’s what women have gone through.”
‘Nun’ Too Happy. The TV series The Flying Nun made her a TV star, but it came with some heavy baggage. “I felt trapped,” she says about her campy role—which continued for three seasons—as a nun so petite that a good breeze would send her soaring. “I was a walking gag. Everywhere I went, people were laughing at me.”
Movie Maturity. She grew into much more nuanced roles, like her Academy Award–winning performances in Norma Rae and Places in the Heart. Picking up her second Oscar, she gave one of the most memorable acceptance speeches of all time—because it’s so often misquoted. She didn’t say, “You like me, you really like me.” She did say, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me.”
Leading Men. Field, who’s been married twice, dated or had relationships with Burt Reynolds (“instantaneous and intense,” she says), Monkee Davy Jones, Lee “Six Million Dollar Man” Majors and Kevin Kline, her co-star in the 1991 daytime drama spoof Soapdish. Of her two marriages and relationship with Reynolds, she only says, “All of them had spectacular things about them [but just] didn’t coincide with me at the time.”

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