BY: Derrik J. Lang
LOS ANGELES – Sally Field’s high school still likes — really likes — the actress.
The 64-year-old Oscar and Emmy winning star of ABC’s ‘Brothers & Sisters‘ was honored Friday at the Birmingham Community Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley community of Lake Balboa. Students and faculty gathered at the school’s performing arts center, originally built in 1976, to dedicate the auditorium in Field’s name.
“I want to say how lucky you are that this beautiful theater exists for you,” Field told students on stage during a ceremony before the unveiling of the theater’s new sign. “Use it. Explore not only the world of language, the spoken word and that of storytelling — because that’s what we do up here on this stage, we tell stories — but use it to explore you.”
Field graduated from the school in 1964 before starring in ‘Gidget‘ on television and later winning Academy Awards for her roles in the films ‘Norma Rae‘ and ‘Places in the Heart.’ She said that the school’s drama department “quite simply saved my life” and was the place that she could “most truly and absolutely be me, where I lost myself and found me.”
“I didn’t feel like a fit in at all,” she recalled of her high school tenure.
Field reminisced about the school being a former Army hospital, then a cluster of rickety buildings “made out of pine wood.” She also recalled waiting in the wings during the dress rehearsal of a production of “The Miracle Worker” in 1963 when another student leaned out of the sound booth and quietly announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.
Lou Ramirez, one of Field’s teachers, remembered her as a “very sweet and enthusiastic, beautiful young lady.”
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