Actor Donald Sutherland Is Dead at 88

Son Kiefer announces the Hollywood icon's death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2024 12:44 PM CDT
Actor Donald Sutherland Is Dead at 88
Actor Donald Sutherland appears at the premiere of the film "The Burnt Orange Heresy" at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in 2019.   (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

Donald Sutherland, the prolific film and television actor whose long career stretched from M.A.S.H. to the Hunger Games, has died at age 88, per the AP. Kiefer Sutherland, the actor's son, confirmed his father's death Thursday on social media. No further details were immediately available. "I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film," Kiefer Sutherland said on X. "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."

The tall and gaunt Canadian actor with a grin that could be sweet or diabolical was known for offbeat characters like Hawkeye Pierce in Robert Altman's M.A.S.H. (not the TV version), the hippie tank commander in Kelly's Heroes, and the stoned professor in Animal House." Over the decades, Sutherland showed his range in more buttoned-down—but still eccentric—parts in Robert Redford's Ordinary People and Oliver Stone's JFK. More, recently, he starred in the Hunger Games films and the HBO limited series The Undoing. He never retired and worked regularly up until his death.

  • From the Times obit: "He often recalled that while growing up in eastern Canada, he once asked his mother if he was good-looking, only to be told, 'No, but your face has a lot of character,'" per the New York Times. "He recounted how he was once rejected for a film role by a producer who said: 'This part calls for a guy-next-door type. You don't look like you've lived next door to anyone.'"
  • From Variety: In 2005, Sutherland recalled that he originally had only one line in his breakthrough film, the Dirty Dozen—"until Clint Walker refused to play a scene requiring him to impersonate a general. According to Sutherland, director Robert Aldrich, who didn't know his name, suddenly turned to him and said, 'You! With the big ears! You do it!'" A star was born. Read the full obituary in Variety.
  • Overlooked? "Remarkably, Sutherland was never even nominated for a competitive Oscar, though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made up for the oversight by giving him an honorary statuette in November 2017 at the Governors Awards," per the Hollywood Reporter.
(More obituary stories.)

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