She could have chosen to write about all her achievements in film and life; however, Sally Field chose to be an open book. Whether this was for cathartic reasons or to help others, only she knows. On the Today show, we learned Field has written her life story, “In Pieces,” to share with the world. Her story is eye-opening to how strong this little woman has had to be in life.
Field describes her life as a teen in an interview with the New York Times. The two-time Oscar-winning actress says that when she was 14 years old, her stepfather, stuntman Jock “Jocko” Mahoney, would call Field into his bedroom alone.
“I knew,” she wrote in her memoir, according to the NYT. “I felt both a child, helpless and not a child. Powerful. This was power. And I owned it. But I wanted to be a child — and yet.”
“It would have been so much easier if I’d only felt one thing, if Jocko had been nothing but cruel and frightening. But he wasn’t. He could be magical, the Pied Piper with our family as his entranced followers,” she wrote.
According to the NYT, which published the interview on Tuesday, Field’s mother, Margaret, filed for divorce from her father, Richard, in 1951, and remarried to Mahoney in 1952. The couple divorced in 1968, and Mahoney died in 1989. Field, now 71, was cast in the 2012 film “Lincoln” when she told her mother about her stepfather.
Field also recalled other instances of abuse. According to the actress, in 1968 she woke up to find musician Jimmy Webb “on top of me, grinding away to another melody,” Field wrote in her book, per the NYT.
Field noted that she didn’t think that Webb had “malicious intent — I felt he was stoned out of his mind,” she told the outlet. In response, Webb told the NYT that he had “great respect” for Field.
Field also recalled a time when she was auditioning for the 1976 film “Stay Hungry” when director Bob Rafelson said: “I can’t hire anyone who doesn’t kiss good enough.”
“So I kissed him,” Field wrote in her book. “It must have been good enough.” Rafelson denied this to the NYT, calling it “totally untrue.”
“That’s the first I’ve ever heard of this,” he told the outlet. “I didn’t make anybody kiss me in order to get any part.”
Also discussed in her book, is Field’s relationship with the late Burt Reynolds. The former couple dated for five years after they met on the set of the 1977 film “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Field described their relationship to the NYT as “confusing and complicated, and not without loving and caring, but really complicated and hurtful to me.”
Looking back, Field thinks her romance with Reynolds was her trying to recreate a version of her relationship with her stepfather.
“I was somehow exorcising something that needed to be exorcised,” Field explained to the NYT. “I was trying to make it work this time.”
Field tells the NYT that she’s “glad” the late actor hasn’t read her memoir.
“This would hurt him,” she admitted. “I felt glad that he wasn’t going to read it, he wasn’t going to be asked about it, and he wasn’t going to have to defend himself or lash out, which he probably would have. I did not want to hurt him any further.”
Field’s book, which will be released on Sept. 18, is being billed as an “intimate, haunting literary memoir” that details the actress’ “challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother,” according to publisher Grand Central Publishing.
Ref. Today/NBC, Fox News, NY Times
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