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Early in her career, Field was known for her roles in cute-but-cheesy sitcoms like "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun." But she expressed a desire to transition into movies, there were doubters—including her agent.

Barbara Stepko
April 06, 2015

“I can't deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!”

It’s been 30 years since Sally Field gave that infamous Oscar acceptance speech, and the 68-year-old actress has been hearing about it ever since.

A tad needy? Perhaps. But maybe with good reason. Turns out, the actress’s road to a-list stardom wasn’t all that easy. Early in her career, Field was known for her roles in cute-but-cheesy sitcoms like Gidget and The Flying Nun. (In fact, you can catch her early work in reruns playing on Cozi TV.) But when Field expressed a desire to transition into movies, there were doubters—including her agent.

“When I decided I needed to back out of TV altogether, I told him, ‘I’m not going to do any more TV’ and he said, ‘Well, that’s ridiculous. You can’t do that, you can’t get into film. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not good enough,’” Field confessed to a crowd at the recent Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, according to People.com.

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Some women would have heeded the advice and signed up for a guest-stint on The Love Boat—right after curling up in bed for a good cry. Not Field.

The feisty actress ended up firing the guy on the spot—and, for good measure, gave her then-hubby the heave-ho, too, “because he was like, ‘Well, what will we do? We don’t have any money.’ And I said, ‘Well get out.’” (And you thought Norma Rae was tough.)

Hmm…let’s see how that bit of impulsiveness worked out: Since then, Field has made almost 40 movies, won a pair of Best Actress Oscars (Norma Rae and Places in the Heart) and three Emmys (Sybil, Brothers and Sisters, and a guest-starring role in ER), and most recently, in 2012, nabbed a New York Film Critics Award for her portrayal of troubled former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s bioflick Lincoln.

Ironically, Field has found her way back to TV as co-host of TCM's weekly film showcase, The Essentials. Each week she offers up her take on a beloved, critically-acclaimed classic. Takes one to know one.

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