Sam Greisman didn’t realize that his remarks would influence a scene in the TV series Brothers and Sisters when he and his mom, the renowned actor Sally Field, had a significant chat about coming out as gay.
In Brothers and Sisters (2006–2011), Sally Field led an ensemble cast that includes Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe, and Matthew Rhys, who plays Kevin, her gay son, and won a Primetime Emmy for her work as Nora.
Gresiman, 35, crafts an essay in honor of his mother that mentions the episode when Kevin comes out as gay and says, “A frank, sincere talk about my queerness was taken verbatim for a scene between her and Matthew Rhys. If I’m being completely honest, I’m still waiting on a retroactive writing credit for it.”
The youngest of Field’s three boys, Greisman, mentions important life events and the roles his mother played in them, adding, “I grew up so connected to my mom that I can trace my life through her career.”
Greisman was creating model airplanes and hanging them all over their leased San Francisco home when Field and the late Robin Williams were filming Mrs. Doubtfire in 1994.
To get Greisman to stop using a pacifier while filming Forrest Gump (1994) with Tom Hanks, Field would entice her son each night with a toy from the Beaufort, South Carolina store.
When did Field make her professional theatrical debut in The Goat or Who is Sylvia? on Broadway in 2002? Greisman fell head over heels for the city. Later, he attended NYU, where he also has memories of his mother, who postponed filming during the first week of Brothers and Sisters so she could assist her son in moving into his dorm.
Greisman recalls that when Field called to tell him she had been cast in the 2012 historical drama Lincoln, in which Daniel Day-Lewis plays the lead part, he was sitting on his best friend’s couch. “…a year and a half later, at dawn, on a rainy morning in Los Angeles, I scrambled out of my room and banged on her door to tell her she had been nominated for a third Oscar,” Greisman recalled.
“I congratulated them. She embraced me. She sighed and said, “‘I did it, Sammy.’”
“Even though my mother has always been my guardian, we cherish times like these most. To have the opportunity to see her as more than “my mom” as a unique individual with her own goals, aspirations, and vulnerabilities.
She has allowed me to see her as a woman and an artist who constantly wants to improve, always looking around the next corner, and is willing to be vulnerable, the speaker concluded. She has shown me what it means to be passionate and how to devote oneself to a craft. She has also shown me that caring is possible even though it hurts.
The incredibly diverse roles that Field had taken on when she first began acting are evidence of her commitment to diversity in her industry. Her acting career began in 1965’s Gidget when she portrays a boy-obsessed teen. She later starred in Flying Nun from 1967 to 1970 and Smokey and the Bandit from 1977 to 1980 as a runaway bride who becomes a liquor smuggler.
Her most memorable performances may be those in which she could embody her parental instincts. Onscreen, Field portrayed a strong mother who cared for her dying daughter, Julia Roberts, in Steel Magnolias (1989), a struggling mother in her award-winning performance in Places in the Heart (1984), a helpful mother in Forrest Gump, a mother who was just getting started in Mrs. Doubtfire, a mother who was belittled in Not Without My Daughter (1991), and a bipolar mother in the TV series ER (2000–2001).
But what truly sticks out about her acting on Brothers and Sisters is how closely it mirrors her connection with her son in real life.
Greisman, who calls himself a “momma’s boy,” acknowledges that he may be “too obsessed with her.” “Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest by sixteen years,” he continues. “Perhaps it’s because I was a shy child, and my mother provided a secure base for me to lean on. Maybe it’s because homosexual guys have a soft spot for celebrated actresses. The unknown! Whatever it is, we have always had a close relationship.”
Field, 76, a supporter of LGBTQ rights, goes beyond simply being there for her son. She attempted to pair her kid with Olympian Adam Rippon, one of the first openly gay American male competitors to qualify for the Winter Olympics, in 2018 by playing matchmaker.
The 2018 Human Rights Campaign Gala Dinner, where Rippon received a Visibility Award, is where the two first connected. Although they appeared friendly throughout the occasion, little is known about how things turned out afterward.
Greisman writes, “My mom has given me permission to be messy, to struggle, to fight with her, to rage at her when I have no one else to yell at, and given me permission to pick out all of her award show dresses, because… well, no explanation needed.”
He expresses this devotion to his legendary mother. She has taught me that life, like art, is about getting back up after falling, as she has done numerous times, he continued. And fortunately for me, I am confident that she will be there to catch me if I fall. even when she isn’t present.
Sally Field is a strong and loving mother who deserves praise from Sam Greisman and the industry for her six decades of outstanding performances, just like in art!
We all love Sally Field for her acting, and we’re thrilled that Sam shared his memories with us, confirming that she is also a fantastic mother!