Donald Sutherland 1935-2024

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Canadian-born actor Donald Sutherland, star of such classics as “M*A*S*H,” “Klute,” “Ordinary People,” and “JFK,” and who later played President Snow in “The Hunger Games” series, died on June 20, 2024 at age 88.

“Kelly’s Heroes”

Sergeant Oddball

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Donald Sutherland as Sergeant Oddball in the World War II film “Kelly’s Heroes.” 

Sutherland has portrayed a wealth of rebels, ruffians and iconoclasts, whose distaste for playing by the rules was searing, and often very funny. So strong was the stamp of a Sutherland rebel that, when he did play a figure of authority, tradition, or cloak-and-dagger subterfuge, the audience was forgiven for believing that his tongue – when speaking of order and control – was very much in his cheek. 

“Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors”


Paramount Pictures

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in 1935, Donald Sutherland studied engineering and drama in Toronto, before attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He appeared in small roles in British television and films throughout the 1960s, including the series “The Avengers” and “The Saint.”

In the 1965 British anthology film “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors,” Donald Sutherland fears his new bride is actually a vampire, which calls for stern measures. 

“The Dirty Dozen”



Sutherland’s first big screen role was in Robert Aldrich’s 1967 war film “The Dirty Dozen,” as Sgt. Pinkley, whose 30-year prison term will be suspended if he survives a commando mission in German-occupied France.



20th Century Fox

Sutherland’s first iconic role was in Robert Altman’s black comedy “M*A*S*H” (1970). He played Hawkeye Pierce, a surgeon on the front lines of the Korean War, opposite Elliott Gould as Trapper John McIntyre. 

“Start the Revolution Without Me”


Warner Brothers

Donald Sutherland and Gene Wilder starred in the comedy “Start the Revolution Without Me,” set in Revolutionary France. 

“Kelly’s Heroes”



While freeing the world from Hitler, Donald Sutherland joined up with Clint Eastwood in a plot to free a bank of $16 million in gold bars, in the war comedy “Kelly’s Heroes.” Telly Savalas and Don Rickles also starred.

“Alex in Wonderland”



In Paul Mazursky’s comic-drama “Alex in Wonderland” (1970), Donald Sutherland played a film director who struggles to match success with his follow-up feature. With Ellen Burstyn, Meg Mazursky and Glenna Sargent.

“Alex in Wonderland”



Donald Sutherland and Jeanne Moreau (playing herself) in “Alex in Wonderland.”



Warner Brothers

In Alan J. Pakula’s thriller “Klute” (1971), Donald Sutherland played a detective investigating a missing corporate executive whose trail leads to a prostitute (Jane Fonda).

“Steelyard Blues”


Warner Brothers

Sutherland and Fonda were reunited in the 1973 comedy “Steelyard Blues,” directed by Second City veteran Alan Myerson.

“Don’t Look Now”


British Lion

In Nicolas Roeg’s psychological suspense film “Don’t Look Now” (1973), based on the Daphne du Maurier novel, the accidental death of Donald Sutherland’s young daughter precipitates a journey with his wife (Julie Christie) to Venice, where mysterious events may signal a visit from their daughter’s spirit.

“The Day of the Locust”


Paramount Pictures

Donald Sutherland is overcome by a mob in John Schlesinger’s 1975 film version of Nathanael West’s poison-pen letter to 1930s Hollywood, “The Day of the Locust.” 




In Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic “1900,” which actually spans the first 45 years of the 20th century, Donald Sutherland played the fascist Attila Mellanchini. After what he does to a pussy cat, his character gets what he deserves.

“Fellini’s Casanova”


Universal Pictures

Donald Sutherland played the renowned adventurer, author and lover in Federico Fellini’s stylized 1976 drama, “Fellini’s Casanova.”

“The Eagle Has Landed”


Columbia Pictures

In the World War II thriller “The Eagle Has Landed” (1976), Michael Caine played a German officer who recruits an IRA member (Donald Sutherland) in his plot to kidnap British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

“National Lampoon’s Animal House”


Universal Pictures

Donald Sutherland as Professor Dave Jennings, who finds Milton “boring,” in “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”

“The Great Train Robbery”


United Artists

Donald Sutherland and Sean Connery are two rogues eager to swipe some heavily-protected gold in “The Great Train Robbery” (1979).

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”


United Artists

In Philip Kaufman’s remake of the classic sci-fi thriller “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978), updated and set in San Francisco, Donald Sutherland plays a health inspector whose suspicion that citizens were being replaced by emotionless duplicates hailing from an alien world proves fatefully correct. 

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”


United Artists

Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams – has she been replicated by the alien pods? – in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978).

“Murder by Decree”


Avco Embassy

In the Sherlock Holmes mystery “Murder by Decree,” Donald Sutherland played a psychic who aids the detective in his hunt for Jack the Ripper. 

“A Man, a Woman, and a Bank”


Avco Embassy

Donald Sutherland reunited with his “Body Snatchers” co-star Brooke Adams in the heist film “A Man, a Woman, and a Bank,” in which romance intrudes on robbery.

“Ordinary People”


Paramount Pictures

In the Oscar-winning “Ordinary People” (1980), Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore are the parents in a family fractured by the accidental death of one son and the attempted suicide of another. Sutherland received his second Golden Globe nomination (his first for Drama). 

“Eye of the Needle”


United Artists

Based on Ken Follett’s World War II thriller, “Eye of the Needle” starred Donald Sutherland as a German spy in the U.K. whose plans run afoul when he enters into a relationship with Kate Nelligan.



Warner Brothers

Donald Sutherland as British Sgt. Major Peasy in the historical epic “Revolution” (1985). 

“The Wolf at the Door”



Donald Sutherland as the artist Paul Gauguin, with Valerie Morea, in “The Wolf at the Door” (1986).

“Lock Up”


Tri-Star Pictures

Donald Sutherland is a villainous warden out to make life hell for inmate Sylvester Stallone in the 1989 drama “Lock Up.”

“A Dry White Season”



In “A Dry White Season” (1989), set in apartheid-era South Africa, Donald Sutherland and Zakes Mokae become embroiled in an investigation into the disappearance of two Black men taken into police custody. 



Warner Brothers

In Oliver Stone’s conspiracy film “JFK,” Donald Sutherland played “X,” a shadowy intelligence figure who relays distressingly ominous information to Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner), who is investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”


20th Century Fox

Donald Sutherland is Merrick, who trains a high school cheerleader (Kristy Swanson) in the ways of hunting the undead, in the horror-comedy “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” 

“Six Degrees of Separation”



In “Six Degrees of Separation” (1993), based on John Guare’s play, Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing are a wealthy New York couple who take in a presentable young man (Will Smith) who appears at their door – and are subsequently taken in by the con artist.



Warner Brothers

Donald Sutherland played a corporate wheeler-dealer in the drama “Disclosure” (1994).

“Citizen X”



Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland investigate a serial killer in the Soviet Union of the 1980s, in the TV film “Citizen X.” Sutherland won an Emmy and his first Golden Globe Award for his performance. 

Sutherland would win a second Golden Globe for the TV miniseries “Path to War.”

“A Time to Kill”


Warner Brothers

Matthew McConaughey and Donald Sutherland in “A Time to Kill,” the 1996 film based on the John Grisham legal thriller. 

“The Italian Job”


Paramount Pictures

In “The Italian Job,” a 2003 remake of the classic British heist film, Donald Sutherland and Mark Wahlberg are partners in a daring robbery in Venice.

“Cold Mountain”



Based on Charles Frazier’s novel, “Cold Mountain” (2003) starred Jude Law and Nicole Kidman as lovers who become separated when the Civil War erupts. Donald Sutherland played a preacher, and father of Kidman. 

“Pride and Prejudice”


Focus Features

Donald Sutherland and Brenda Blethyn as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, with their marriageable daughters – Lydia (Jena Malone), Jane (Rosamund Pike), Kitty (Carey Mulligan), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Mary (Talulah Riley) – in the 2005 film version of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

“An American Haunting”


Freestyle Releasing

In the 2008 horror film “An American Haunting,” set in the early 19th century, Donald Sutherland is convinced he has been cursed by a witch, and that his daughter (Rachel Hurd-Wood) may be possessed.

“Dirty Sexy Money”



Donald Sutherland starred as Patrick “Tripp” Darling III, of the extremely wealthy Darling family, in the drama series “Dirty Sexy Money.” The cast also included Peter Krause, Jill Clayburgh, William Baldwin, Lucy Liu and Blair Underwood.

“Fool’s Gold”


Warner Brothers

Donald Sutherland starred with Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Alexis Dziena and Ewen Bremner in the romantic comedy-adventure “Fool’s God.”  

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”



Donald Sutherland played President Coriolanus Snow in the film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” books.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1”



Donald Sutherland as President Snow in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.”



Momentum Pictures

Donald Sutherland starred opposite son Kiefer Sutherland in the western “Forsaken” (2015), about a young gunslinger reestablishing his relationship with his preacher-father.

“The Leisure Seeker”


Sony Pictures Classics

In the road movie “The Leisure Seeker,” Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren are a retired couple whose failing health shadows what would appear to be their last cross-country RV trip. 

Governors Award

Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' 9th Annual Governors Awards - Show

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Though never nominated for an Academy Award for one of his performances, Donald Sutherland was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at its Governors Awards ceremony, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Beverly Hills, November 11, 2017. Presenting the award was Sutherland’s “Hunger Games” co-star Jennifer Lawrence.

“I wish I could say thank you to all the characters I’ve played,” he said.

Donald Sutherland


CBS News

In a 2017 interview with Anderson Cooper for “60 Minutes,” Sutherland discussed how he would immerse himself into his characters, who might not seem sympathetic from an audience’s point of view, “but they’re sympathetic to me.”

He reflected on how deeply he could be affected by his roles even decades after playing them, such as the father who finds his drowned daughter in 1973’s “Don’t Look Now.” “This is gonna be a hard day for me,” Sutherland said.

“So even now, the character comes back to you? The character’s still there?” asked Cooper.

“Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting, I never thought of that. They must all have their little niche somewhere in my person or in my soul or something.”



Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Donald Sutherland starred as J. Paul Getty in the 2018 FX miniseries “Trust,” about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. 

“Lawman: Bass Reeves”



Donald Sutherland’s last screen credit was in the 2023 Paramount+ series “Lawman: Bass Reeves,” starring David Oyelowo.


Portrait Studio at AFI Fest 2005 presented by Audi

Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Donald Sutherland poses during the AFI Fest 2005 at the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood, Nov. 5, 2005.

Sutherland died on Thursday, June 20, 2024

By senior producer David Morgan

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top