Hollywood Acting Legend Donald Sutherland Dies After Lengthy Illness


Donald Sutherland, famed for his roles in Klute, Ordinary People, and later, The Hunger Games, has died at 88.

Actor Kiefer Sutherland announced his father’s death on Thursday with a tweet, in which he was not specific about the cause of death. “With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away,” Sutherland’s eldest son posted. “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.”

Deadline reported that Sutherland died after a long illness.

Over his decades-long career, Sutherland established himself as a versatile talent via a persona that was comprised of equal parts gravitas and subversive wackiness.

He cut his teeth in horror movies in the ’60s before breaking through in The Dirty Dozen and the Robert Altman Vietnam comedy M*A*S*H, successes he followed up with the ’70s classics Klute and Don’t Look Now.

Sutherland wasn’t much of a presence in the gossip press throughout his life, but he did have a two-year affair with Klute co-star Jane Fonda, who was married at the time.

Although Don’t Look Now—a wrenching thriller that follows a couple grieving the sudden death of their toddler daughter—is achingly sad and ultimately terrifying, it also contains a scene lauded by many as one of the greatest onscreen sex scenes ever; a deserved accolade for an actor who, incredibly, was never even nominated for an Academy Award.

Such an oversight feels even more egregious when you consider how integral Sutherland was to cult classics (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and major franchises (President Coriolanus Snow in the Hunger Games) alike.

And as every Jane Austen-head on the planet could tell you, Sutherland was pitch-perfect as a beleaguered yet tender Mr. Bennett in the much-beloved Joe Wright adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

However, Sutherland won an Emmy Award for his supporting role in HBO’s Citizen X in 1993.

“RIP the great Donald Sutherland, a favourite actor and always fascinating screen presence,” director Edgar Wright posted on X on Thursday. Wright called Sutherland “a funny, laconic, but also intense and dramatic presence in so many memorable movies.”

“#RIPDonaldSutherland. One of the most intelligent, interesting & engrossing film actors of all time,” Ron Howard, who directed Sutherland in 1991’s Backdraft, posted. “Incredible range, creative courage & dedication to serving the story & the audience with supreme excellence.”

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