Sally Field: Defying Ageism in Hollywood

It’s rare to see a celebrity today who hasn’t had work done, especially with the amount of pressure placed on famous women. However, even at 76, Sally Field has defied most of the “rules” put in place. Hollywood can be tough on women, but Sally Field’s personal approach to working against ageism in her career is truly inspiring.

Born in 1946 in Pasadena, California, Sally Field initially rose to fame in television series such as “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun”. Despite being 76 years old now, she has continued to develop into an impressive actress and activist, transitioning into film soon after her television career. Some of our favorite work from her is not on the screen but instead her efforts to combat ageism.

Sally Field has starred in a plethora of iconic films, including “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Norma Rae,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and “Forrest Gump”. Her talent and impact on the industry were recognized when she received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2023. In her gracious acceptance speech, she reflected on her impressive and storied career.

Field’s list of awards is impressive, with two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Film Award nominations, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, two SAG Awards, including the recent Life Achievement Award, and a Tony nomination. She has always been described as ageless and talented, and her SAG Achievement Award speech was a humble testament to her complicated acting history.

Offstage, Field described herself as shy and careful, but onstage, she surprised herself. Acting has always been about finding those few, precious moments when she feels totally and utterly alive. It’s about getting to that place where she can genuinely connect with a character and deliver a powerful performance. For Field, acting is a constant source of joy and fulfillment.

Styled in a beautiful black dress with her naturally gray hair, Sally Field radiated beauty and grace during the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony. She spoke candidly about the impact acting has had on her life, “They opened and revealed parts of myself I would not have known otherwise. I’ve worked my whole life, and in all these almost 60 years, there is not a day that I don’t feel quietly thrilled to call myself an actor.”

In 2016, when Field played the character Doris Miller, an aging and eccentric woman, she discussed the idea of embracing aging naturally in an interview with NPR, “I’m an old woman, 70 is old, and that’s okay. I’ve gathered strength behind my years, I owned them, I’ve earned them, I have a right to have them. And I don’t like my neck, I don’t like a lot of things, but it’s okay.”

This is not the first time Field has expressed her views on aging naturally. She spoke with Good Housekeeping in 2009 about resisting the urge to get work done throughout her career. Field mentioned how she sees herself on TV and notices imperfections but believes it is important to embrace who she is. She argues against plastic surgery, saying it can be disrespectful to one’s true self.

We think Sally Field is beautiful at any age, especially because she has stayed true to herself. Her choice to age naturally is a refreshing rarity in Hollywood. What do you think about her decision?