Raised in California's San Fernando Valley
Made TV debut as the boy-struck, surfer girl Frances 'Gidget' Lawrence on the ABC series "Gidget"
Made feature film debut in the epic Western "The Way West"
Breakthrough TV role, playing Sister Bertrille on the ABC series "The Flying Nun"
Landed recurring role on the ABC Western comedy "Alias Smith and Jones"
Played a runaway hippie who returns to her parents' home in the ABC TV-movie "Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring"
Cast opposite John Davidson on the NBC sitcom "The Girl with Something Extra"
First lead role in a feature, playing Jeff Bridges' working-class girlfriend in "Stay Hungry"
Offered an award-winning performance in her first dramatic role, playing the title role of a young woman afflicted with multiple personality syndrome in the NBC TV-Movie "Sybil"
First of four films with Burt Reynolds, "Smokey and the Bandit"; earned a Golden Globe nomination; began off-screen romantic relationship with Reynolds
Delivered breakthrough film role, playing the titular Southern textile worker who organizes her fellow employees in "Norma Rae"
Formed production company Fogwood Films
Played a prostitute opposite Tommy Lee Jones in "Back Roads"
Played an inexperienced reporter opposite Paul Newman in "Absence of Malice"; earned a Golden Globe nomination
Co-starred with James Caan and Jeff Bridges in the comedy "Kiss Me Goodbye"; earned a Golden Globe nomination
Won second Academy Award for her starring role in Robert Benton's semi-autobiographical "Places in the Heart," playing a Texas woman struggling to save her farm
First film credit for Fogwood, "Murphy's Romance" (co-starring Field and James Garner); earned a Golden Globe nomination
First film with Tom Hanks, "Punchline"; played a housewife attempting to pursue a career as a standup comic
Played Julia Roberts' mother in Herbert Ross' film adaptation of the off-Broadway play "Steel Magnolias"; earned a Golden Globe nomination
First film as producer, "Dying Young" starring Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott
Starred in "Not Without My Daughter" as American citizen Betty Mahmoody, who escaped with her daughter from her husband in Iran; based on the book of the same title written by Mahmoody
Delivered a terrific turn as a diva-like soap opera actress in "Soapdish"
Played the wife of Robin Williams and the love interest of Pierce Brosnan in Chris Columbus's "Mrs. Doubtfire"
Portrayed the title character's mother in the Academy Award-winning film "Forrest Gump"; re-teamed with Tom Hanks
Returned to TV for the NBC miniseries "A Woman of Independent Means"; also produced; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Miniseries (as producer) and Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG nominations for Lead Actress
Directorial debut, the ABC TV-movie "The Christmas Tree"; also scripted and produced
Made a cameo appearance on the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown" as Secretary #91
Directed "The Original Wives Club" segment of the award-winning HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon"; series executive produced by Tom Hanks
Portrayed a one-time housewife who is forced to work as a housekeeper for a wealthy woman (Judy Davis) in Showtime's "A Cooler Climate"; received an Emmy nomination
Feature directorial debut, "Beautiful" starring Minnie Driver
Landed recurring guest role on "ER" (NBC) as Dr. Abby Lockhart's (Maura Tierney) mother who is struggling to cope with bipolar disorder; returned to the role in 2003 and 2006; earned an Emmy nomination in 2003
Played supporting role as Heather Graham's mother in "Say It Isn't So"
Played a congresswoman opposite Reese Witherspoon in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde"
Cast as the mother of five adult children on ABC's "Brothers & Sisters"; earned Golden Globe (2008, 2009), SAG (2008, 2009) and Emmy (2008, 2009) nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series
Played the sick mother of four in the bittersweet comedy "Two Weeks"
Nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series
Returned to film acting as Peter Parker¿s Aunt May in "The Amazing Spider-Man"
Portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"