Curtain ClosedHollywood Legend Donald Sutherland Dies at 88

Hollywood mourns the loss of a true legend, Donald Sutherland, who passed away at 88 after a long illness. The acclaimed actor, known for his iconic roles in films like The Hunger Games and Don’t Look Now, left an indelible mark on the industry.

His son, Kiefer Sutherland, broke the news, saying, “With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. I personally think he was one of the most important actors in the history of film.”

Donald Sutherland and son Kiefer Sutherland photographed in 2016. | Credit: Los Angeles Times

A Life Well Lived

Donald Sutherland’s career spanned nearly 200 credits, a testament to his versatility and dedication. Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Sutherland began his career as a radio news reporter before moving to London in 1957 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. His early roles in British film and television set the stage for a remarkable journey in Hollywood.

Breakout Roles and Iconic Performances

Sutherland’s breakout role came as Hawkeye Pierce in the 1970 film MASH, a comedy about medics in the Korean War. He then starred in The Dirty Dozen, a World War II action film, and continued to captivate audiences with his performances in Kelly’s Heroes, Klute, and Don’t Look Now.

Jane Fonda, who co-starred with Sutherland in Klute, won an Oscar for her role. The two shared a romantic relationship for two years before parting ways.

Versatility on Screen

The 1970s saw Sutherland take on diverse roles, from an IRA member in The Eagle Has Landed to a pot-smoking professor in National Lampoon’s Animal House. He also led the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In the 1980s, he portrayed the father of a suicidal teenager in the Oscar-winning Ordinary People.

Despite his extensive filmography, Sutherland never received an Oscar nomination but was honored with an honorary Academy Award in 2017.

Activism and Later Roles

Sutherland was also known for his political activism, protesting the Vietnam War alongside Fonda. This activism influenced some of his roles, including the tyrannical President Snow in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2. He hoped the film’s message would inspire young fans to become more politically aware, saying, “The purpose of everybody involved in this was to try to get them engaged.”

A Farewell

Sutherland’s death comes just months before the release of his memoir, Made Up, But Still True, chronicling his journey as an actor. Reflecting on the industry in 2015, he remarked on how much had changed, particularly the financial aspect. “I don’t think anybody of my generation became an actor to make money. It never occurred to me,” he said.

He maintained a passion for acting until the end, famously stating, “Retirement for actors is spelt ‘DEATH’.” Sutherland’s legacy will live on through his films, leaving a lasting impact on Hollywood and audiences worldwide.


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