Donald Sutherland dies at age 88 after long illness

By Alexandra Heilbron on June 20, 2024 | 4 Comments

Donald Sutherland in Mr. Harrigan's PhoneCanadian actor Donald Sutherland died today at the age of 88 following a long illness, according to his family.

His eldest son from his marriage to late Canadian actress Shirley Douglas, actor Kiefer Sutherland, announced his father’s death in a statement on his social platforms, which read:

“With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. 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.”

Kiefer and Donald starred together in a number of films, including Max Dugan Returns in 1983, A Time to Kill in 1996 and the 2015 western Forsaken.

Donald Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1935 and began his career as a radio DJ before leaving for England in 1957 to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Although Donald never received an Academy Award nomination, he was given an honorary Oscar in 2018. He won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe award 1995 TV movie Citizen X and a Genie Award in 1983 for Theshold. He received another Golden Globe award in 2003 for the TV movie Commander in Chief. Donald was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011 and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2000.

Donald Sutherland 2023 Canadian stamp. Courtesy Canadian Post OfficeHis image appeared on a Canadian stamp in 2023, to which he responded, “It’s the biggest thing to me. I kept saying: ‘I’m a Canadian and now I’m a Canadian stamp…’ This is really something. I think just now when I said it, all the hair stood up on my arms.”

He is pictured in a still from the Netflix TV film Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022). His final project was the Paramount+ TV 2023 miniseries Lawmen: Bass Reeves, in which he played Judge Parker.

Donald leaves behind five children from his second and third marriages: Kiefer and twin sister Rachel Sutherland; and Roeg, Angus and Rossif Sutherland from his current marriage (since 1972) to Québecois actress Francine Racette. ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. Gwen • June 20, 2024 @ 4:08 PM

    Such a shame. Always liked him. R.I.P. Donald.

  2. Susan Kelly-Rochefort • June 21, 2024 @ 9:25 AM

    I am so sad to hear this…..I loved him in everything he did. The world just lost another great actor. I send my deepest condolences to his family on their immeasurable loss. God bless them all x

  3. D A Machin • June 21, 2024 @ 8:04 PM

    So sorry to hear. We just watched Forsaken. & loved it. May Donald RIP & will be deeply missed.

  4. Becks • June 22, 2024 @ 2:06 AM

    He made some terrific movies. He also made GAS and NOTHING PERSONAL; two abominable Canadian tax-shelter “comedies” that are about as funny as watching a child suffer. They are truly two of the worst films ever made, and would test the meddle of even the most ardent movie masochists. Check them out.

  5. Carla Renee Donald • June 22, 2024 @ 2:18 PM

    Very pleased with Dr Crowdet. He is so caring. He is a great physician !

  6. daniel toman • June 22, 2024 @ 2:39 PM

    I’m so sorry for the Sutherland family. He was a great actor, very versatile. In Backdraft he did an amazing job as Ronald the arsonist, really nailed his part and has always exemplified being a really believable character in each of his films. I pray for his entire family.

  7. Jeanette Ramsay • June 24, 2024 @ 4:18 PM

    I loved Donald Sutherland in “The Eye of the Needle” (my personal favorite spy story) – also “Ordinary People” – also the film he made with Will Smith, where he (Sutherland portrayed an art dealer). Yes, in his long career, he got to portray such a variety of roles – to me, the “sign” of a great actor. Thank goodness, his “body of work” (all those roles in all those movies) lives after him, for the pleasure of future generations to appreciate.

  8. Dylan • June 24, 2024 @ 11:57 PM

    Eye of the needle, invasion of the body snatchers (remake), animal house, just a few of his great movies. My stepmom loved the great train robbery. Don’t forget his arsonist in backdraft!

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