Sally Field explains why she hated working on ‘The Flying Nun’: ‘I just had to put my head down’



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It’s no secret that Sally Field hated “The Flying Nun.”

The sitcom, which aired from 1967 to 1970, focused on the comic misadventures of a nun (Field) who can somehow fly.

When Variety asked the actress on Thursday how she forced herself to get up every morning and perform for a project she hated working on, the star replied, “It was work.”

“And I learned to survive,” the 75-year-old explained. “It’s important to learn how to survive things, things you like, things you don’t like. I just had to put my head down and go to work and do the best I could. And those are things when you realize there’s a reason you’re eating so much but trying to hide. You’re trying to hide your depression. But at that point in my life, I didn’t have the skills to do what I wanted. was happening… and being able to see what your dreams are.”


Actress Sally Field in 'The Flying Nun', circa 1967.

Actress Sally Field in ‘The Flying Nun’, circa 1967.
(Getty Pictures)

According to Field, it was Madeleine Sherwood, who played Mother Superior, who encouraged her to look beyond the show.

“… [She] took me by the hand because she recognized what was happening to me at the end of the first season and took me to The Actors Studio, where I started working with [director] Lee Strasberg,” Field said. “It was that big transition in my recognition that I wanted to be a real actor.”

But even after “The Flying Nun” ended, Field struggled to make the transition from comedy to movies.

“…It wasn’t that I would fail an audition,” she pointed out. “I couldn’t get in the door. I couldn’t be on the list. And I had to change that. I felt in my heart that if you blamed others… then you died. Then you give all your You’re helpless and helpless, and that’s a recipe for depression You always gotta be the one with the power It was about me becoming qualified enough to get the part because that’s how I am good.


Sally Field's agent told the actress she was not

Sally Field’s rep told the actress she wasn’t “pretty enough” to do movies.
(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

“I knew I had to step away from the public,” the Oscar-winning actress continued. “I couldn’t be in sitcom TV anymore. The only way to transition was to hope they would forget about me. So I wanted to pull myself out of other TV offerings altogether.”

Field said she walked up to her agent and informed him that she was no longer going to do sitcoms. Field made it clear that she was studying to be an actress and was looking forward to appearing on the big screen instead. However, his response was, “Well, that will never happen.”

“It wasn’t that cruel, but he said, ‘Hey, I really advise you against that,'” Field recalled. “He basically said, ‘You’re not good enough and you’re not pretty enough… Situation comedy is for you, cute little girl next door with pea brains.’ I mean, that’s what he thought.”

Field then starred in “Norma Rae” in 1979, which led to her first Oscar in 1989.


Actress Sally Field starred in the production of

Actress Sally Field starred in 20th Century Fox’s production of “Norma Rae” in 1979.
(Getty Pictures)

“Dianne Crittenden, the casting director, had let me know, even though I was hearing [director Bob] Rafelson in the background yelling that I was a waste of time,” Field said. “But Dianne had heard from a friend of hers about the reputation I was building for myself at The Actors Studio. So she called me…and I finally walked into the room and read to him.

“It was kind of mind-blowing because I knew how to control my anger then,” she continued. “I knew how to use it. He wasn’t going to get the better of me. He was going to get out of my hands, my face, my feet and my body. I wasn’t going to hit him. He was just ‘I don’t I wasn’t going to know what I was going to do. He called me back for another audition. … I remember him saying to me, ‘Obviously you can’t be the best. You must have auditioned more than anyone else.” Needless to say, I finally got the part.”


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