Donald Sutherland

Source: Brian Hamill and Warner Bros

Donald Sutherland

Donald Sutherland, the Canadian actor who delivered memorable turns in films like Don’t Look Now, Klute, and The Hunger Games, has died. He was 88.

Sutherland’s son, the actor Kiefer Sutherland, announced the death on social media. ”I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film,” Sutherland wrote. ”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.”

Sutherland passed away in Miami after a long, unspecified illness and leaves an indelible impression on the arts. He earned close to 200 credits and distinguished his work with signature elegance, wit, and understated power.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in July 1935, Sutherland studied engineering at University of Toronto. He had worked a radio reporter in his early years and left for London in 1957, studying at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before a stint at Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland.

He landed small roles in film and television before a breakout role in the 1967 Second World War action adventure The Dirty Dozen led to a co-lead role as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce Jr. alongside Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s US satirical comedy M.A.S.H. That earned Sutherland a Golden Globe nomination in 1971.

Significant credits mounted up, with memorable turns in 1970’s Kelly’s Heroes, then as a detective in Klute in 1971 opposite Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her performance as a prostitute who helps with a missing person case, and as the lead in Federico Fellini’s Casanova in 1976,.

In 1973 Sutherland and Julie Christie starred in Venice Film Festival thriller Don’t Look Now, which earned enduring fascination for its realistic sex scene between the leads, which they have always said was acting.

Credits include Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Animal House, Ordinary People, JFK, opposite Kiefer in A Time To Kill, and more recently as Coriolanus Snow, the tyrannical president of Panem in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Sutherland earned a Bafta nomination in 1974 for Don’t Look Now and Steelyard Blues, and Golden Globes for the TV movies Citizen X in 1996 and Path To War in 2003. In 2017 he received an honorary Academy Award.

Hollywood and the world of entertainment has been paying tribute to Sutherland. Ron Howard, Sutherland’s director on Backdraft, hailed “One of the most intelligent, interesting & engrossing acrors of all time.” Helen Mirren, a joint lead in The Leisure Seeker, said: ”He had a wonderful enquiring brain, and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects… He was my colleague and became my friend. I will miss his presence in this world.”

Sutherland is survived by his wife, Francine Racette, sons Kiefer, Roeg, Angus, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

The family will hold a private celebration of life.