Donald Sutherland has passed away.



Great actor. I admired his range, in particular. He could be very intimidating, but also extremely vulnerable. He had this thing he'd do where his voice quavered and he stammered a little that made me feel tremendous sympathy for his characters every time.

Rest in peace.

The doors of wisdom are never shut. - 'Socrates'
Oh no. I really liked his films. R.I.P.
Did you know that in the 1980s movie PREDATOR the titular character was not originally portrayed by Kevin Peter Hall. It was in fact Jean-Claude Van Damme donning a much more insect inspired full body suit before he left the production which then led to the recasting and redesigning of the famous hunter.


He can finally drink wine, eat cheese, and catch some rays again.

OMG, I don't believe it. What an amazing actor...loved him in MASH , Animal House, Space Cowboys, Disclosure, The Leisure Seeker, Max Dugan Returns, and, of course, Ordinary People, which should have earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. It is mind blowing to me that in his long and distinguished career, he never earned a single Oscar nomination. What a freaking travesty. I have to admit he was also a big part of one of my favorite TV guilty pleasures, when he played patriarch Tripp Darling on the prime time soap Dirty Sexy Money. This was an actor who NEVER phoned it in. That last scene in Ordinary People with Mary Tyler Moore and she discovers him sitting at the table and asks him why he's crying DESTROYS me every time I watch it. This one is hard. RIP.

The New York Times
By Clyde Haberman
June 20, 2024

Donald Sutherland, whose ability to both charm and unsettle, both reassure and repulse, was amply displayed in scores of film roles as diverse as a laid-back battlefield surgeon in M*A*S*H, a ruthless Nazi spy in Eye of the Needle, a soulful father in Ordinary People and a strutting fascist in 1900, has died. He was eighty-eight.

His son Kiefer Sutherland announced the death on social media on Thursday. He did not say where or when Mr. Sutherland died or specify the cause.

With his long face, droopy eyes, protruding ears and wolfish smile, the 6-foot-4 Mr. Sutherland was never anyone’s idea of a movie heartthrob. 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.” 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.” And yet across six decades, starting in the early 1960s, he appeared in nearly 200 films and television shows — some years he was in as many as half a dozen movies. His chameleon-like ability to be endearing in one role, menacing in another and just plain odd in yet a third appealed to directors, among them Federico Fellini, Robert Altman, Bernardo Bertolucci and Oliver Stone. “For me, working with these great guys was like falling in love,” Mr. Sutherland said of those filmmakers. “I was their lover, their beloved.”

He was far from a willing lover early on; he acknowledged having been unduly rigid about how a role should be played. But by 1981 he was telling Playboy magazine that “film acting is about the surrender of will to the director.” He was so in thrall to some directors that he named his four sons after them, including Kiefer, named in homage to Warren Kiefer, with whom he had worked early in his career. He also had a daughter, Rachel, Kiefer’s twin.

Mr. Sutherland first came to the attention of many moviegoers as one of the Army misfits and sociopaths in The Dirty Dozen (1967), set during World War II. His character had almost no lines until he was told to take over from another actor. “You with the big ears — you do it!” he recalled the director, Robert Aldrich, yelling at him. “He didn’t even know my name.” While Mr. Sutherland worked almost nonstop to the very end, some of his more memorable roles fell in a stretch from 1970 to 1981, when he appeared in thirty-four films, often playing men who walked a fine line between sanity and madness — and on occasion erased that line. His fascist in Bertolucci’s Novencento - 1900 (1976), his heavily made-up Lothario in Fellini’s Casanova (1976), and his murderous World War II spy in Eye of the Needle (1981) were examples of his capacity for the grotesque and the ominous.

But he could also be winningly irreverent, as in a pivotal early role: Hawkeye Pierce, an insolent mobile-hospital surgeon, in Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970), set during the Korean War but with distinctly Vietnam-era sensibilities. Ten years later he stretched his emotional range further in Ordinary People (1980), Robert Redford’s debut as a director, in which he played a beleaguered suburban husband and father struggling to hold his family together after a son drowned. Though his character may seem weak, “he’s really the only one in the family with some idea of what is wrong,” Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times.

One of the actor’s more controversial roles was in Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973), which is set in Venice and has supernatural overtones. Mr. Sutherland and Julie Christie, as his wife, had a sex scene so hot that it left a long-lingering question as to whether there was, in fact, copulation. He insisted there was not, but she left open the possibility. In Klute (1971), another early triumph, Mr. Sutherland was a small-town policeman crossing paths with a big-city call girl played by Jane Fonda. He and Ms. Fonda then began an affair that lasted three years; their relationship dovetailed with his most conspicuous burst of political activism, which matched hers. In 1971, he joined Ms. Fonda and other actors in a comedy troupe called F.T.A. that toured military towns, performing satirical sketches infused unmistakably with an anti-Vietnam War spirit. The group’s initials stood for Free the Army, though soldiers recognized a far less dainty meaning. Although Mr. Sutherland’s politics leaned leftward, he told Playboy: “I didn’t like doing anything political within the United States because I am, after all, Canadian.” But, he added, “there was a huge Canadian participation in the war, and so I felt, on this, I had a right.”

Despite the critical acclaim that he usually enjoyed, he never received an Academy Award nomination. There were other honors, though, including a 1995 Emmy for his role as a Soviet investigator in “Citizen X”, an HBO film. He also won two Golden Globes — for “Citizen X” and for his 2002 portrayal of the presidential adviser Clark Clifford in HBO’s “Path to War”.

Some years, Mr. Sutherland was so busy racing among film projects that he lived life almost as if he were double-parked. Well-received performances included his pot-smoking professor in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), the mysterious X in Oliver Stone’s JFK (1991), the self-important father in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), the kindly Mr. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005), a lascivious astronaut in Space Cowboys (2000), and the president in the dystopian Hunger Games series of the 2010s.

But there were pans, too — be it for his sexually repressed accountant in The Day of the Locust (1975) or his country doctor in Apprentice to Murder (1988), or for a flock of forgettable offerings like Beerfest (2006) and S*P*Y*S, a failed 1974 attempt to rebottle the allure of M*A*S*H. Mr. Sutherland was well aware of the stinkers. “I don’t go into any picture saying, ‘Oh, boy, this is going to be a bad one,’” he told The Boston Globe in 1981. “I try to be right. But when I’m wrong, I’m really off the wall.”

His earliest acting gigs were onstage in London, where he had gone to learn his craft, but his was not a notable theater career. He received reasonably good reviews in 2000 for his performance as a prize-winning author in Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s Enigma Variations, staged in Los Angeles, Toronto, and London. But the notices were disastrous for Edward Albee’s 1981 Broadway adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, and Mr. Sutherland did not escape unscathed. Frank Rich of The Times wrote that in a sex scene, his Humbert Humbert “gasps and pants and bobs like a fleabag comic cavorting at a stag dinner.” The play closed after only twelve performances.

Donald McNichol Sutherland was born on July 17, 1935, in Saint John, a coastal town in New Brunswick. One of three children of Frederick McLae Sutherland, a salesman, and Dorothy (McNichol) Sutherland, a math teacher, Donald lived his formative years in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. As a boy, he was plagued by ill health, including bouts of hepatitis, rheumatic fever and polio, which left him with one leg shorter than the other. In 1970, while filming Kelly’s Heroes in Yugoslavia, he came down with spinal meningitis. “I went into a coma,” he told an interviewer years later, “and they tell me that for a few seconds, I died.” Mr. Sutherland went to schools in Bridgewater, where he worked as a disc jockey on a local radio station at age fourteen. He then attended the University of Toronto, graduating in 1956 as an English major after having switched from engineering, a field that his father had urged on him as a possible fallback.

But the acting bug had bitten. Post-university, he went off to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, but he dropped out after a year in favor of actual stage work. His apprenticeship was with provincial repertory companies in England, sprinkled with bit parts on the London stage and, now and again, British television. He caught the eye of an Italian film producer and director, Luciano Ricci, who cast him in a 1964 movie, Il Castello dei Morti ViviCastle of the Living Dead, directed by Warren Kiefer. It was followed in 1965 by works with unprepossessing titles like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Die! Die! My Darling! “I was always cast as an artistic homicidal maniac,” Mr. Sutherland told The Guardian in 2005. “But at least I was artistic.” His performances were apparently artistic enough to draw the attention of accomplished filmmakers, and by 1967 he was one of The Dirty Dozen.

He was married three times, always to actresses: Lois Hardwick, Shirley Douglas, and Francine Racette, a French Canadian whom he wed in 1990, years after they had begun living together. In addition to his son Kiefer, he is survived by his wife; his daughter, Rachel Sutherland, both from his second marriage; three sons with Ms. Racette — Roeg, named for Nicolas Roeg; Rossif, for the French director Frédéric Rossif; and Angus Redford, for Robert Redford; and grandchildren.

In 1976, relatively early in his career, Mr. Sutherland was asked by Newsday which of his films he found most satisfying. He cited Fellini’s Casanova, never mind that the movie was panned by many critics, as was his performance. His answer reflected his obeisance to directors. “Working for Fellini was the best experience of my life,” he said. He added: “For an actor, there is no one like him. More than anyone else in the world, you submit to Fellini. He is the master, and you go to serve.”
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

I was introduced to him via Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Since then I always had an interest in him in the back of my mind. He was a beautiful mother actor.

Very unique actor.
He wasn't born with the looks to be the tall, dark & handsome leading man (yet could still pull off those roles).
I especially liked when he played stoners, hippies, visionaries, or outcasts.
He could be a great villain also.
The guy could do it all - romance, comedy, drama, thrillers, horror, sci-fi, etc.

he once asked his mother if he was good-looking, only to be told, “No, but your face has a lot of character.”
I think he's a great example of just how appealing and attractive and interesting someone's presence and energy can be. He always feels present in his roles in a way I don't associate with many actors. I think that he was also a master of being understated and how that can be incredibly powerful.

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.”

I recall seeing M*A*S*H in 1970. No one had heard of Donald Sutherland up to then, but his breakout role as Hawkeye Pierce, along with his hilarious interactions and pranks with Elliot Gould as Trapper John, skyrocketed Sutherland into fan consciousness and popularity. That movie is still a riot today.

He was also great in non-comedic portrayals, such as "Colonel X" in O. Stone's magnificent JFK.

He had a great life, and leaves a lasting impression from his many indelible roles.

I mainline Windex and horse tranquilizer
A hundred percent death proof.

Tomato Necromancy - now with Vitamin R!

On the short list of greatest actors of all time. Plus, I always felt a stronger kinship with him than almost any other 'leading man'. It might be the Canadian thing.

One of the truly great actors. M*A*S*H, The Dirty Dozen, Kelly's Heroes, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Eagle Has Landed, Eye of the Needle, Space matter the size of the role, you remembered him and what he did with it. My three favorite roles of his were in JFK, Pride & Prejudice and best of all, his role in Ordinary People. I agree that he should have been nominated for Best Actor for that role. Godspeed, Donald
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

@Holden Pike, I'm wondering what your top performances are for Donald Sutherland. Also, like some here, I find it surprising that he has never been nominated for an acting Oscar, but I know that in order to fairly determine that, you have to compare what was nominated to see if one of his performances was more deserving, which you are much better qualified to do than I and many others are here. I'm not so much concerned about whether he should have been nominated, but are there any performances you feel like were worthy of a win?

It is mind blowing to me that in his long and distinguished career, he never earned a single Oscar nomination.

There's not another actor for which this fact surprises me more.