Sally Field has been a hero, inspiration and a role model to me since the 1970s. I feel like I grew up with her. I was a devoted fan of her sitcom work. I watched her as GIDGET, THE FLYING NUN and THE GIRL WITH SOMETHING EXTRA. It made me angry that critics seemed to overlook her impressive work in made-for-TV dramatic movies on ABC. She was not taken seriously. I cheered when she slammed across that galvanizing performance as a schizophrenic named SYBIL. With her work as the young woman suffering from multiple personalities, SYBIL was a 1976 NBC mini-series that had everybody talking about Sally Field's stunning portayal. Then came her landmark film career.
Sally Field, a native of Southern California, proved to have the right stuff for playing Southern women. Playing Southern women earned her two Oscars for Best Actress -- NORMA RAE (1979) and PLACES IN THE HEART (1984).
Shirley MacLaine was a marvelous guest on my VH1 show. We started gabbing in the green room and continued on the set. She got her Best Actress Oscar for TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983), a classic written and directed by James L. Brooks. Here's a clip of Shirley and me talking about the James L. Brooks experience.
I saw STEEL MAGNOLIAS in New York City before its film adaptation. I loved it. Robert Harling wrote the play. Onstage, it has an all-female cast. There's no man in it at all. Just like 1939's THE WOMEN which was also based on a hit play. Harling wrote the screenplay. For the film adaptation, he opened up the action of his story and he added men -- just like MGM's 1956 remake of THE WOMEN, called THE OPPOSITE SEX, added men. After the movie success of his STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Robert Harling went on to write screenplays for the comedy SOAPDISH (1991) and THE FIRST WIVES CLUB (1996). You can see him onscreen in STEEL MAGNOLIAS as a minister.
For ticket and showtime info on the special STEEL MAGNOLIAS screenings this week, go here: