Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Late Great Donald Sutherland

Donald Sutherland, who starred in such movies as The Dirty Dozen (1967), MASH (1970), Klute (1971), and Ordinary People (1980), died today, June 20 2024, at the age of 88 following a long illness.

Donald Sutherland was born July 17 1935 in Saint John, New Brunswick.  He had polio when he was very young and later rheumatic fever. He as twelve years old when his family moved to Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. There he attended Bridgewater High School. He later attended the University of Toronto. There he studied engineering and drama. He worked in regional theatre for a time before attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He dropped out after a year, after which he acted  for year and a half at the Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland.

Donald Sutherland made his television debut in 1962 in an episode of Studio 4. In the Sixties he guest starred on the shows Man of the World, Suspense, The Odd Man, The Sentimental Agent, The Sullavan Brothers, ITV Play of the Week, BBC Play of the Month, Court Martial, Theatre 625, Gideon's Way, The Saint, The Avengers, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, and The Name of the Game. He appeared in the mini-series A Farewell to Arms. He made his film debut in 1963 in The World Ten Times Over. In the Sixties he appeared in the movies Il castello dei morti vivi (1964), Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), Fanatic (1965), The Bedford Incident (1965), Promise Her Anything (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Billion Dollar Brain (1967), Sebastian (1968), Joanna (1968), Interlude (1968), Oedipus the King (1968), The Split (1968), MASH (1970), Start the Revolution without Me (1970), Kelly's Heroes (1970), Act of the Heart (1970), and Alex in Wonderland (1970).

In the Seventies, Donald Sutherland appeared in the movies Little Murders (1971), Johnny Got His Gun (1971), Klute (1971), Steelyard Blues (1973), Lady Ice (1973), Don't Look Now (1973), Alien Thunder (1974), S*P*Y*S (1974), The Day of the Locust (1975), Der Richter und sein Henker (1975), Novecento (1976), Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976), The Eagle Has Landed (1977), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Disappearance (1977), Les liens de sang (1978), National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), The First Great Train Robbery (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Murder by Decree (1979), A Man, a Woman and a Bank (1979), Bear Island (1979), Nothing Personal (1980), and Ordinary People (1980).

In the Eighties he appeared in the movies Gas (1981), Eye of the Needle (1981), Threshold (1981), Max Dugan Returns (1983), Crackers (1984), Ordeal by Innocence (1984), Heaven Help Us (1985), Revolution (1985), Oviri (1986), The Rosary Murders (1986), The Trouble with Spies (1987), Apprentice to Murder (1988), Lost Angels (1989), Lock Up (1989), A Dry White Season (1989), Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990), and Eminent Domain (1990).

In the Nineties Donald Sutherland appeared in the television mini-series Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All and the TV movie Citizen X. He was a guest voice on The Simpsons. He appeared in the movies Buster's Bedroom (1991), Backdraft (1991), Cerro Torre: Schrei aus Stein (1991), JFK (1991), The Railway Station Man (1992), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Rakuyô (1992), Shadow of the Wolf (1992), Younger and Younger (1993), Benefit of the Doubt (1993), Red Hot (1993), Punch (1993), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), The Puppet Masters (1994), Disclosure (1994), Outbreak (1995), Hollow Point (1996), A Time to Kill (1996), Shadow Conspiracy (1997), The Assignment (1997), Fallen (1998), Without Limits (1998), Free Money (1998), Virus (1999), Instinct (1999), Panic (2000), Space Cowboys (2000), and The Art of War (2000).

In the Naughts Donald Sutherland starred on the TV shows Dirty Sexy Money and Commander in Chief. He appeared in the mini-series 'Salem's Lot, Frankenstein, Human Trafficking, and The Pillars of the Earth. He guest starred on the show Sunday Pants. He appeared in the movies Da wan (2001), Piazza delle cinque lune (2003), The Italian Job (2003), Baltic Storm (2003), Cold Mountain (2003), Aurora Borealis (2005), Fierce People (2005), Pride & Prejudice (2005), American Gun (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Land of the Blind (2006), Ask the Dust (2006), Beerfest (2006), Reign Over Me (2007), L'âge des ténèbres (2007), Puffball (2007), Fool's Gold (2008), and The Con Artist (2010). He provided voices for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) and Astro Boy (2009).

In the Teens Mr. Sutherland starred on the TV shows Crossing Lines, Ice, and Trust. He appeared in the mini-series Moby Dick, Treasure Island, and The Undoing.  He appeared in the movies The Mechanic (2011), Horrible Bosses (2011), Man on the Train (2011), The Hunger Games (2012), Sofia (2012), Dawn Rider (2012), La migliore offerta (2013), Jappeloup (2013), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Calling (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014), Forsaken (2015), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), Milton's Secret (2016), The Leisure Seeker (2017), Basmati Blues (2017), Measure of a Man (2018), American Hangman (2019), Ad Astra (2019), The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019), and Alone (2020).

In the 2020s he had recurring roles on the TV shows Swimming with Sharks and Lawmen: Bass Reeves. He appeared in the movies Moonfall (2022), Mr. Harrigan's Phone (2022), an d Miranda's Victim (2023). He provided a voice for the animated movie Ozi: Voice of the Forest (2023).

Donald Sutherland was an extraordinary actor capable of playing any genre out there, from comedies to dramas to thrillers. He did a fantastic job as irreverent, insubordinate surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in MASH. At the same time he was impressive as Calvin Jarett, the father attempting to connect with his younger son after his oldest son had died in an accident, in Ordinary People. In The Dirty Dozen he played the none-too bright Private Pinkley, while in Animal House he played the aloof, unassuming, pot smoking Professor Dave Jennings. He was no less impressive on television. On the Avengers episode "The Superlative Seven" he played Jessel, the antagonist of the episode who trains assassins. On Lawmen: Bass Reeves he played the historical figure Isaac Parker the imposting judge known as "the Hanging Judge." Donald Sutherland appeared in everything from comedies to thrillers to sci-fi movies to dramas and he always gave a great performance. He was nothing if not versatile.

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