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29th SAGAwards: Sally Field Receives The Lifetime Achievement Award

While accepting the award, Field recounted the first lines she ever recited on camera for Gidget. “All of a sudden I was the star of a television series,” and she joined the Screen Actors Guild.

Getty Images / Kevin Winter

Sally Field received the lifetime achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday. Andrew Garfield presented Field with her award. He called Field “one of the greatest actors to have ever lived.”

Field’s first television series, Gidget, was lauded by Garfield, who referred to her as a “North star” and encouraged “people under 30” to watch it. In an era when female characters were frequently one-dimensional, he praised her for portraying complicated women early in her career.

He also complimented Field’s humility. “You never drink the Kool-Aid of your own brilliance,” Garfield said. “You never get high on your own supply. But tonight we’re going to try to make you.”

Garfield went on to highlight Field’s work off-screen celebrating her as a fighter for women’s rights, women in media and an ally to the LGBTQ community. And, he added, “She’s won a lot of s–t. She’s won so much s–t.”

The award show highlighted a “small slice, that is the genius” of Field’s best hits in a montage honoring her nearly six-decade career. Footage showing touching scenes from ER, Steel Magnolias, Norma Rae, Forrest Gump, and other films were included in the program.

Courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Field recalled the first words she ever delivered for Gidget on camera while accepting the award. “All of a sudden I was the star of a television series,” and she joined the Screen Actors Guild.

Field claimed that as a child, she felt reserved, cautious, and concealed; however, on stage, she could be completely herself. She was clear that she never felt the need to conceal herself behind her characters, but rather that performing gave her the chance to feel “totally, utterly, sometimes dangerously, alive.”

“There is not a day that I don’t feel quietly thrilled to call myself an actor,” Field said.  The actress most recently starred in the comedy 80 For Brady and has won two Oscars during her career. She got her start in the 1965 television series Gidget. Fields played the titular character, a 15-year-old California girl on her journey to adulthood.

The one-season comedy featured Gidget as she encountered difficulties and sought guidance from Don Porter’s character, her widowed father.

Field played Sister Bertrille in the 1967 television sitcom The Flying Nun. When Sister Bertrille found her large headdress could cause her to fly in a strong breeze, she was a novice at the convent in Puerto Rico. Three seasons of the show were broadcast.

She went on to appear in numerous TV series and films before winning her first Oscar in 1979 for playing the title character in Norma Rae, a film based on the real story of a woman who worked in a textile mill and rallied her coworkers to unionize for better conditions.

Field won her second Academy Award in 1984 for playing Edna Spalding, a woman who fights to keep her family and her home after her husband is killed in an accident during the Great Depression, in Places of the Heart.

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