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Sally Field on TV: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 09:36 AM

Before and after she won her Best Actress Academy Awards for "Norma Rae" (1979) and "Places in the Heart" (1984), legendary actress Sally Field managed to win the hearts of countless small screen viewers with her iconic roles on TV.

Here are four examples of how Field's star power went beyond the big screen:

1. Gidget, "Gidget" (1965-1966)

Field burst onto the entertainment scene in 1965 with her role as the lovable Francis "Gidget" Lawrence in the ABC-TV comedy "Gidget." The series, based on the 1959 movie of the same name starring Sandra Dee, centered on Gidget's life as a teenager and her widowed, college professor father, Russell (Don Porter) in Southern California.

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The show, which ran for 32 episodes from 1965 to 1966, was canceled because it couldn't find an audience, TV.com says. The irony, according to the website, was the show became popular in reruns, and effectively boosted Field's star power, propelling her to her next TV comedy, "The Flying Nun."

2. Sister Bertrille/Elsie Enthrington, "The Flying Nun" (1967-1970)
Field soared, quite literally, in this ABC comedy, as a nun who could fly. TV.com says the situation comedy followed the misadventures of a surfer girl named Elsie Ethrington (Field) who converts to a nun named Sister Bertrille at the Convent Tanco in San Juan, Puerto Rico – and has the ability to take flight thanks to her small frame and cornette on her head.

The series ran for 82 episodes and also starred Marge Redmond, Madeleine Sherwood, and Alejandro Rey.

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3. Sybil, "Sybil" (1976)
Six years after "The Flying Nun," Field spread her dramatic wings to play the title character in the riveting two-part miniseries "Sybil," which chronicles the true story of a young woman with 13 different personalities and co-starred Joanne Woodward and Brad Davis.

The role earned Field her first Primetime Emmy Award, a trophy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special ("Sybil" was wrapped within a program NBC called "The Big Event").

4. Nora Walker, "Brothers and Sisters" (2006-2011)
While she appeared in guest roles on such shows as "Murphy Brown" and "E/R," Field's took a break from TV years for about 30 years. Field returned to regular series work with the ABC drama "Brothers and Sisters" for 109 episodes from 2006 to 2011.

Field was part of a large acting ensemble for the TV drama, which also starred Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, and Rob Lowe, playing a matriarch of a Los Angeles family dealing with the various trials and tribulations of its adult siblings. Field earned her third Primetime Emmy Award (and first and only for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series) for the role in 2007, and was nominated again in the same category in 2008 and 2009.

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Before and after she won her Best Actress Academy Awards for "Norma Rae" 1979) and "Places in the Heart"(1984), legendary actress Sally Field managed to win the hearts of countless small screen viewers with her iconic roles on TV.
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