Vale: Donald Sutherland

Legendary Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, who has almost 200 screen credits to his name, has died.

Legendary Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, who has almost 200 screen credits to his name, has died aged 88.

He died on Thursday in Miami after a long illness.

Son Kiefer Sutherland, said: “With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film.

“Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

Born in 1935 in Saint John, Canada, he was a radio news reporter in his youth and graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in engineering.

But it was not long before the acting bug took hold, prompting him to travel to London in 1957. After an unrewarding stint studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art he spent 18 months at Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland.

Small roles in British film and television followed, among them appearances alongside Christopher Lee in the horror films Castle of the Living Dead and Dr Terror’s House of Horrors. Other roles around this time included parts in episodes of The Saint, one of which was directed by its star Roger Moore.

It was on the strength of that episode that Sutherland landed his breakthrough role in World War Two action film The Dirty Dozen -a performance which led him to winning one of the lead roles in M*A*S*H.

Hollywood credits continued with Kelly’s Heroes, Klute, 1900, Casanova, The Eagle Has Landed, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

He played the father of a suicidal teenager in Robert Redford’s Oscar-winning Ordinary People and followed with Backdraft, JFK, Six Degrees of Separation, A Time to Kill, Max Dugan Returns. Later credits would also include the Hunger Games franchise.

Sutherland turned to television in the 2000s, appearing in such series as Dirty Sexy Money, Commander-in-Chief, The Eastmans, Moby Dick, The Undoing, Trust, The Pillars of the Earth, Lawmen: Bass Reeves and filming the miniseries Salem’s Lot in Australia.

Ron Howard, who directed Sutherland in the 1991 film Backdraft, said that he was “one of the most intelligent, interesting [and] engrossing film actors of all time”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “My thoughts go out to Kiefer and the entire Sutherland family, as well as all Canadians who are no doubt saddened to learn, as I am right now. He was a man with a strong presence, a brilliance in his craft and truly, truly a great Canadian artist.”


Source: BBC

8 Responses

  1. Fun fact: He played a character named Homer Simpson in the 1975 film The Day of the Locust. 21 years later, Sutherland would guest star in an episode of The Simpsons, whose character would appear opposite another character named Homer Simpson.

    But I’ll always remember him for his role in Kate Bush’s music video Cloudbusting.

  2. I heard late last year that he had turned down a couple of roles, which I thought was unusual for him, because he wasn’t known for turning things down, but I didn’t think of it more deeply than in terms of age and its ravages. Saddened to hear it was — seemingly — illness and not age taking a toll. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this, but I’ve seen a few more … questionable .. films than I would have otherwise because of his casting. Eminently watchable. One of my favourites.

  3. My favourite was the screen in Kelly’s Hero’s…when Oddball says ….”Drinking wine, eating cheese, catching some rays…tanks broken..oh man I don’t know how to fix em…I just ride em…I don’t know what makes em work”….Donald was such a versatile and consummate performer…he could play any role convincingly…RIP Mr Sutherland..for the joy you brought to the world 🕊️🕊️

  4. What an icon. One of the most prolific and my favourites. He could play a great villain, one of his last yet famous especially to younger generations in “The Hunger Games” as President Snow and in the mid-90s in that sexy workplace thriller with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore in “Disclosure”. But yeah how can one go past Don’t Look Now, Kelly’s Heroes and The Dirty Dozen, whenever they come on I’ll watch.

  5. Terrific actor, made some great films Like Robert Altman’s M.A.S.H, Klute with Jane Fonda, Don’t Look Now, JFK, and many many more. Vale Donald Sutherland.

  6. Very sad and shocked to hear of the death of Donald Sutherland. A couple of movies I liked were the ones he did with Jason Statham: The Italian Job and The Mechanic, both good movies. RIP Donald.

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