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Hollywood star Donald Sutherland: The exceptional actor with young fans

Hollywood star Donald Sutherland: The exceptional actor with young fans
Hollywood star Donald Sutherland: The exceptional actor with young fans

Hollywood star Donald Sutherland has died. A nasty role brought him many young fans. For his son, he was a hero anyway.

Canadian Hollywood star Donald Sutherland (1935-2024) died on Thursday (June 20) “after a long illness” in Miami, Florida. The Creative Artists Agency confirmed this to the US industry magazine “Deadline”. He was 88 years old.

The old master with the young fans

He was a veteran of his craft, who was also known to young cinema audiences thanks to the huge success of the “Hunger Games” films (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). In the science fiction adventure series, which is based on the novel trilogy of the same name by Suzanne Collins (61), Sutherland played the tyrant “President Snow” – the cold-hearted adversary of the main character Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, 33).

The actor certainly couldn’t complain about a lack of work even in his later creative phase. After the “Tribute” films, he appeared in twelve feature films alone, including “Moonfall” (2022), the science fiction disaster film by German director Roland Emmerich (68), and most recently “Miranda’s Victim” (2023). His last television production, the miniseries “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” (2023), was released in the same year.

A long successful career

Donald Sutherland had a long, lasting and very successful career. He was considered one of the most versatile actors and was awarded the Canadian Order of Merit (1978), two Emmys (1996, 2003) and an honorary Oscar (2018), among others. He made his breakthrough in 1970 with the satirical comedy “MASH” by director Robert Altman (1925-2006).

Films from all genres followed: “When the Gondolas Wear Black” (1973, horror), “Normal Family” (1980, drama), “JFK – Crime Scene Dallas” (1991), “The Jury” (1996, legal thriller), “Space Cowboys” (2000, science fiction), “Cold Mountain” (2003, film adaptation of a novel), “Pride and Prejudice” (2005, film adaptation of a novel), “Kill the Boss” (2011, comedy) etc.

His film-worthy family

And his private life was also film-worthy, as Donald McNicol Sutherland, as he was called in full, lived in an acting clan. Until his death, he was married for the third time to Canadian actress Francine Racette (76, “In the Spotlight”). Two of their three sons are also actors: Angus Sutherland (41, “Welcome, Mrs. President”) and Rossif Sutherland (45, “The Handmaid’s Tale”). The third, Roeg Sutherland (50), is a film producer.

The most famous offspring of his Sutherland clan is certainly Kiefer Sutherland (57), who won pretty much everything there is to win in the category with the series “24” (2001-2010). Strictly speaking, he is Donald Sutherland’s firstborn, but his twin sister followed just a few minutes later. The mother of the two is the Canadian actress Shirley Douglas (1934-2020), who died four years ago. From 1966 to 1970, she and Donald Sutherland were married for the second time. The film star’s first marriage (1959-1966) was with actress Lois Hardwick (1917-1968).

Movie star and laid-back father

Kiefer Sutherland talked about what life was like with his film star father at the Best Brand Awards 2019 in Munich: “My parents separated when my twin sister and I were about three or four years old. My mother had to go to Canada to find a new home for us. And so we lived with my father for six months. So we went from a mother who had a lot of rules and was very strict to a guy who had absolutely no rules,” he described the circumstances at the time.

His father always drove him and his sister to kindergarten “in this beautiful red Ferrari (built in 1959) that he had won in a poker game,” Kiefer Sutherland recalled. “No child seats, nothing. Two seats, three people. And he had this big bushy beard, really long hair and this cool leather jacket. I was about five years old and I knew he was different. I noticed it from the way the other parents looked at him. I loved that and I loved the car,” Sutherland junior raved about his childhood with his unconventional father.

And he revealed another anecdote: The only record his father had at that time was Bob Dylan’s (83) classic “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1973). The record was always played when the twins visited their father at Christmas for 15 years. This song reminded him of a “really nice, innocent time with my sister and my father,” said Kiefer Sutherland.

Kiefer Sutherland: “A fulfilled life”

he remembered his childhood with his famous father. The actor and musician wrote about an old black and white photo in which the two are looking into the camera:

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. I personally consider him to be one of the most important actors in the history of film. He was never intimidated by a role, whether good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and that’s all you can ask for. A fulfilling life.”

Source: Stern

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