Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Sally Field: Come for a visit
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Tourism officials have invited actress Sally Field to town following her recent claim that, if she hadn’t gone into acting, she could have ended up a “really, really unhappy overweight person somewhere deep in Tuscaloosa.”
Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports Interim CEO Bill Buchanan, in an open letter to the 70-year-old Oscar and Emmy winner, culls from a number of her movie roles in asking Field to come meet the people she seemingly disparaged.
“At Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, we are not offended, as we see that there is an ‘absence of malice’ in your statement,” Buchanan said, referencing the 1981 film in which Field co-starred with Paul Newman. “Rather, we think your comment merely reflects a lack of knowledge about our great city.
“We would welcome the opportunity to show you just how nice Tuscaloosa is, and how happy you would be if you came for a visit.”
Field’s comment came toward the end of a story in The Hollywood Reporter that was published online on Friday. In it, when asked what her life would have been like had she not become an actress, Field said this:
“It’s not a question. I wouldn’t be. I would not be. It’s what I am, it’s what I’ve always been. There was nothing else. There was just nothing else. I would be (a) really, really unhappy overweight person somewhere deep in Tuscaloosa.”
That comment upset some in this part of the world, and Buchanan’s letter appeals to the California-born Field’s sentiments that she never felt at home in Tinseltown.
“You once said, ‘never, ever have I felt really accepted in Hollywood,’” the letter said. “Well, here in the heart of Dixie, we take pride in making everyone feel right at home.
“Southern hospitality is very much a real thing and we have a strong tradition of welcoming everyone around the dinner table.”
Despite living on the west coast Field is no stranger to the Southern lifestyle, having portrayed women from this region many times during her career, including memorable roles in “Forrest Gump (1994),” ″Steel Magnolias (1989)” and “Norma Rae (1979),” which was filmed in Opelika.
She also starred in “Hooper” with Burt Reynolds, a 1978 film about an aging stuntman who wants one more shot at glory. The final scene of the movie was filmed at the old Northington General Hospital campus in Tuscaloosa.
Should Field take up Buchanan’s offer to return to the Druid City, he has some advice for her.
“People in Tuscaloosa are very easy to please. Just say, ‘Roll Tide’ and they would like you. They would really, really like you ...,” echoing a common misquote of Field’s acceptance speech for the Academy Award she won for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1984′s “Places in the Heart.”
“We hope to see you soon as our guest.”
Field hasn’t publicly responded to the offer.
Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com