29 Sep Donald Sutherland ~ Special Star without an Oscar
Donald McNichol Sutherland CC (born 17 July 1935) is a Canadian prolific actor and anti-war activist whose film career spans over six decades. He has received numerous accolades including a Primetime Emmy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Critics Choice Award. He has been cited as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination. In 2017, he received an Academy Honorary Award.
Sutherland rose to fame after starring in films including The Dirty Dozen (1967), M*A*S*H (1970), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Klute (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973), The Day of the Locust (1975), Fellini’s Casanova (1976), 1900 (1976), The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Animal House (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Ordinary People (1980), and Eye of the Needle (1981). His other notable films include A Dry White Season (1989), JFK (1991), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), Outbreak (1995), A Time to Kill (1996), Without Limits (1998), Space Cowboys (2000), The Italian Job (2003), Cold Mountain (2003), Pride & Prejudice (2005), The Mechanic (2011), and Ad Astra (2019). He gained prominence for his role as Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games franchise (2012–2015).
Sutherland gained attention for his television roles. For his portrayal of Colonel Mikhail Fetisov in Citizen X (1995) he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He played Adam Czerniaków in Uprising (1998), and Clark Clifford in Path to War (2002) earning the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. He also starred in Commander in Chief (2005-2006), Human Trafficking (2005), Dirty Sexy Money (2007-2009), The Pillars of the Earth (2010), Trust (2018), and The Undoing (2020).
Sutherland has received various honors including inductions into the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2000 and Hollywood Walk of Fame 2011. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada (OC) in 1978, a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2012 and received the Companion of the Order of Canada (CC) in 2019. He is the father of actors Kiefer Sutherland, Rossif Sutherland, and Angus Sutherland.
Early life and education
Sutherland was born 17 July 1935, in Saint John, New Brunswick, the son of Dorothy Isobel (née McNichol; 1892–1956) and Frederick McLea Sutherland (1894–1983), who worked in sales and ran the local gas, electricity and bus company. He is of Scottish, German and English ancestry. As a child, he had rheumatic fever, hepatitis, and poliomyelitis. His teenage years were spent in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He obtained his first part-time job, at the age of 14, as a news correspondent for local radio station CKBW.
Sutherland graduated from Bridgewater High School. He then studied at Victoria University, an affiliated college of the University of Toronto, where he met his first wife Lois May Hardwick (not to be confused with the child star of the same name Lois Ann Hardwick), and graduated with a double major in engineering and drama. He had at one point been a member of the “UC Follies” comedy troupe in Toronto. He changed his mind about becoming an engineer, and left Canada for Britain in 1957, studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Dirty Dozen was the 5th highest-grossing film of 1967. MGM‘s highest-grossing movie of the year. In 1968, after the breakthrough in the UK-filmed The Dirty Dozen, Sutherland left London for Hollywood.
He then appeared in two war films, playing the lead role as “Hawkeye” Pierce in Robert Altman‘s MASH in 1970; and, again in 1970, as hippie tank commander “Oddball” in Kelly’s Heroes. Sutherland found himself as a leading man throughout the 1970s in films such as the Venice-based psychological horror film Don’t Look Now (1973), co-starring Julie Christie, a role which saw him nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor, the war film The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Federico Fellini’s Casanova (1976) and the thriller Eye of the Needle (which was filmed on location on the Isle of Mull, West Scotland). His role as Corpse of Lt. Robert Schmied in the Maximilian Schell-directed German film End of the Game (1976) is listed in crazy credits, and as the health inspector in the science fiction/horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) alongside Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum. Sutherland also had a role as pot-smoking Professor Dave Jennings in National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978, making himself known to younger fans as a result of the movie’s popularity. When cast, he was offered either $40,000 up front or two percent of the movie’s gross earnings. Thinking the movie would certainly not be a big success, he chose the upfront payment. The movie eventually grossed $141.6 million.
He won acclaim for his performance in the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1976 epic film 1900 and as the conflicted father in the Academy Award-winning family drama Ordinary People (1980), alongside Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton. He was later cast in 1996 (for only the second time) with his son Kiefer in Joel Schumacher‘s A Time to Kill. Sutherland played famous American Civil War General P.G.T. Beauregard in the 1999 film The Hunley.
He played an astronaut in Space Cowboys (2000), with co-stars Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones and James Garner. Sutherland was a model for Chris Claremont and John Byrne to create Donald Pierce, the Marvel Comics character whose last name comes from Sutherland’s character in the 1970 film M*A*S*H, Hawkeye Pierce. In more recent years, Sutherland was known for his role as Reverend Monroe in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain (2003), in the drama thriller Baltic Storm (2003), in the remake of The Italian Job (2003), in the TV series Commander in Chief (2005–2006), in the movie Fierce People (2005) with Diane Lane and Anton Yelchin, and as Mr. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005), starring alongside Keira Knightley. He also played a minor role in Mike Binder‘s Reign Over Me (2007). Sutherland starred as Tripp Darling in the prime time drama series Dirty Sexy Money for ABC. He played multi-millionaire Nigel Honeycut in the 2008 film Fool’s Gold. His distinctive voice has also been used in many radio and television commercials, including those for Delta Air Lines, Volvo automobiles, and Simply Orange orange juice.
Sutherland provided voice-overs and narration during the intro of the first semifinal of Eurovision Song Contest 2009, and the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and was also one of the Olympic flag bearers. He was also narrator of CTV‘s “I Believe” television ads in the lead up to the Games. During the games, Sutherland attended some of the events. In 2010, he starred alongside an ensemble cast in a TV adaptation of Ken Follett‘s novel The Pillars of the Earth (2010).
Sutherland in 2011
Beginning in 2012, Sutherland portrayed President Snow, the main antagonist of The Hunger Games film franchise, in The Hunger Games (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014), and Part 2 (2015). His role was well received by fans and critics. On 26 March 2012, he was a guest on the Opie and Anthony radio show where he mentioned he had been offered the lead roles in Deliverance and Straw Dogs, although turned down both offers because he did not want to appear in violent films at the time. The role in Deliverance went to Jon Voight and the role in Straw Dogs to Dustin Hoffman, and both films enjoyed critical and box office success. After declining these violent roles, he quipped: “and then I played a fascist in 1900 by Bernardo Bertolucci.” The television program Crossing Lines premiered on 23 June 2013, on the US NBC network. Sutherland, who played the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court named Michel Dorn, was one of only two actors to appear in all episodes across three seasons.
In 2016, he was a member of the main competition jury of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. On 6 September 2017, it was announced Sutherland, along with 3 other recipients, would receive an Honorary Oscar, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “for a lifetime of indelible characters, rendered with unwavering truthfulness.” This was Sutherland’s first Academy Award in six decades. In 2018, Sutherland portrayed oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in the FX historical drama series Trust. In 2020, he appeared in the HBO limited series The Undoing (2020) alongside Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. Sutherland plays the role of Mr. Harrigan in the 2022 Netflix film Mr. Harrigan’s Phone written and directed by John Lee Hancock, based on the novella of the same name from the book If It Bleeds by Stephen King.
Sutherland was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on 18 December 1978 and promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 2019. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2000. He maintains a home in Georgeville, Quebec.
Sutherland has been married three times. His first marriage, to Lois May Hardwick, lasted from 1959 to 1966. His second marriage, which lasted from 1966 to 1970, was to Shirley Douglas, daughter of Canadian social democratic politician and the “father” of Canada’s universal healthcare system, Tommy Douglas. Sutherland and Douglas have two children, twins Kiefer and Rachel. From 1970 to 1972, he had an “extraordinary” affair with married Klute co-star Jane Fonda. According to Sutherland, their affair allowed him to have “a terrific sensual and sexual, loving life after it, with no regrets and just a great deal of joy.”
Sutherland married French Canadian actress Francine Racette in 1972, after meeting her on the set of the Canadian pioneer drama Alien Thunder. They have three sons – Rossif Sutherland, Angus Redford Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland – all of whom were named after directors Sutherland has worked with. Kiefer is named after American-born director and writer Warren Kiefer, who, under the assumed name of Lorenzo Sabatini, directed Sutherland in his first feature film, the Italian low-budget horror film Il castello dei morti vivi (Castle of the Living Dead); Roeg is named after director Nicolas Roeg; Rossif is named after French director Frédéric Rossif; and Angus Redford has his middle name after Robert Redford.
Documents declassified in 2017 show that Sutherland was on the National Security Agency watchlist between 1971 and 1973 at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency because of his anti-war activities. Net worth estimated at $60 million dollars.