Sally became famous for these two roles early in her career. As surfer girl  Gidget, she became America's sweetheart during the show's brief tenure. Unfortunately for Sally, she was coerced into her second series to take the Sister Bertinelli part and the experience almost destroyed her passion for acting.

As Gidget, Sally played a teen-age beach bunny who lived with her widowed father in Southern California. Based on the 1957 novel “Gidget, the Little Girl with Big Ideas,” the series faced tough competition.

The show had the misfortune of competing with the immensly popular “The Beverly Hillbillies” the first half of the season. When it was moved to a different time slot, "Gidget" ran up against “Gilligan's Island,”and it was canceled in 1966 after one season due to poor ratings.
A year later, “The Flying Nun” was based on a ridiculous premise that Sister Bertrille could actually “fly.” When a strong wind at the San Juan, Puerto Rico convent would blow in and catch her cornette -- the habit's headpiece -- it  would send her airborne.

“The Flying Nun” was awful TV and Sally knew it from the get-go. It appeared in TV Guide's 50 Worst TV Shows of All Time, as No. 42.
Sally never wanted to be the Flying Nun. She originally declined the role, but stepfather Jock Mahoney, an actor and stuntman, pressured her into changing her mind. Mahoney came to her apartment and told her she'd never work again if she didn't accept the role.

“I felt betrayed,” she said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “I should've burst out laughing because that's the cliché of the town. But I was too young to know. Instead I got scared.”

Acting against her instincts, she called the studio and accepted the part. Although the role had already been handed to actress Ronne Troup and shooting had already begun, Screen Gems brought in Sally and fired Troup.
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SALLY FIELD as Gidget in "Gidget" and as Sister Bertrille in "The Flying Nun"
."“I didn't want to be a nun. I was a burgeoning young woman,” she said. “It was the '60s. Everyone was running around naked! I didn't want to be this silly thing.”

“Something in me was going, 'No, no, no,'” she told Good Housekeeping magazine in a 2009 interview. She became the butt of jokes from comedians and on late-night TV. Sally said she felt “disconnected from my hopes and dreams, from my lust for acting, I was just numb.”

Working on “The Flying Nun” was the worst experience of her professional life.

“I was really unhappy for all three years that I did it because a part of me knew why,” she said. “I had listened to a voice of fear. I knew then that that voice of fear was something that I must never listen to.”

Thanks to some mentoring from “Flying Nun” co-star Madeline Sherwood, who guided Sally to Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio, she rediscovered her passion for acting and went on to a successful film career, winning two Oscars and a Golden Globe award..
Sally Field "Gidget" "The Flying Nun" Sister Bertinelli
Sally was born in Pasadena, California to an Army officer father and an actress mother, Margaret Field.

"My mother was a working-class actor that would one week go to work on 'Bonanza' and then not work for a few weeks, and then get a job on 'Perry Mason,' and then not work for a while,” Sally said. “So it was really the typical, dangerous working-class actress life, in that you never knew if you were going to have an income."

Her parents divorced when she was young and her mother married Mahoney, who aided Sally's early acting career.

“Believe it or not, I was discovered on a street corner and asked to go on an interview,” she told the website www.ability.com. “And out of that I got my first television series.”
After “The Flying Nun” came to a merciful ending in 1970, Sally found it tough transitioning from TV to film.

“It was impossible to make that transition, especially if you came from something called 'The Flying Nun,'” she said. “It just couldn't be done. It wasn't that I couldn't get the part, I couldn't get in the door.”

Sally's break in movies came when she auditioned for and won the role of an uneducated Southern floozy in the 1976 film “Stay Hungry.”

She starred in several notable 1970s films: “Sybil,” and with Burt Reynolds in “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Hooper.” In 1979 Sally established herself as a dramatic actress in her inspiring performance as the lead in “Norma Rae,” the gripping story of a North Carolina union organizer..

Of Sally's acting, New York Times film critic Vincent Canby raved, “The movie... provides Sally Field with the plum role of her career, an opportunity to demonstrate that she is an actress of dramatic intelligence and force... the performance may well be the one that those of other actresses are measured against this year.”

Sally walked away with the Best Actress Oscar for “Norma Rae.”
Sally Field "Gidget" "The Flying Nun" Sister Bertinelli
In the 1980s, Sally was known for the films “Absence of Malice,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Murph's Romance,” and “Places in the Heart,” for which she won another Oscar and a Golden Globe.

More recent notable films starring Sally were “Forrest Gump,” and “Legally Blonde 2.”

Sally had a recurring role in TV's “ER,” (2000-06), winning an Emmy for Outstanding Actress Drama Series as Maggie Wyczenski.

She's stayed busy into 2012, working on “Brothers & Sisters,” a show for which she has been nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

"One of the great things about acting -- you have the opportunity to stand in somebody else's shoes, whether it's someone with mental health problems or someone who lives and works in a small town,” she said in the Archive of American Television interview.

“Each character faces a dilemma in her life, and as an actor you're able to step into that character's skin, look through her eyes. You leave transformed, a different person, because once you live a little bit of someone's life, it changes you."
Eva Gabor "Green Acres" Lisa Douglas
Sally Field The Flyning Nun Gidget
Joi Lansing "The Beverly Hillbillies" Gladys Flatt
Priscilla Presley "Dallas" Jenna Wade
Lynda Carter "Wonder Woman"
Farrah Fawcett "Charlie's Angels" Jill Munroe
Julie Newmar "Batman" Catwoman
Goldie Hawn "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In"
Peggy Lipton "The Mod Squad" Julie Barnes
Linda Evans "The Big Valley" Audra Barkley
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