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Donald Sutherland, Veteran Actor and Star of “The Hunger Games,” Dies at 88

Donald Sutherland, the prolific Canadian actor renowned for his diverse roles in films such as “MAS*H,” “Klute,” “Ordinary People,” and “The Hunger Games,” has died at the age of 88. His son, actor Kiefer Sutherland, announced his death with a heartfelt tribute, calling his father “one of the most important actors in the history of film.”

Born on July 17, 1935, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Donald Sutherland embarked on an acting career that spanned over six decades, featuring nearly 150 film credits and over 40 television roles. His first acting roles were in early television series like “Man of the World” and “Suspense.” His breakthrough came with the role of Vernon L. Pinkley in the 1967 World War II classic film, “The Dirty Dozen.”

Sutherland’s career soared when he played Army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in Robert Altman’s 1970 film “MAS*H,” which became a cultural phenomenon and propelled him to stardom. His versatility shone through in the 1971 drama “Klute,” where he starred alongside Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her role.

In 1980, he delivered a powerful performance in the Robert Redford-directed drama “Ordinary People,” earning critical acclaim for his portrayal of a grieving father. Sutherland’s career continued to flourish with notable films throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including “A Dry White Season,” “JFK,” and “Backdraft.”

In the 2000s, Sutherland captivated a new generation of fans with roles in films like “Space Cowboys,” “Cold Mountain,” and “The Italian Job.” He also portrayed Mr. Bennett in the 2005 adaptation of “Pride & Prejudice.”

Sutherland reached perhaps his widest audience yet when he starred as the tyrannical President Coriolanus Snow in “The Hunger Games” franchise. Speaking about his role, Sutherland expressed a desire to be part of a project that would inspire and catalyze young people.

Tom Blyth, who played a young Coriolanus Snow in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” paid tribute to Sutherland, calling him a master of the craft of acting. “I never had the honor of knowing him personally, but it was the honor of a lifetime to follow in his footsteps,” Blyth wrote.

Sutherland’s final on-screen role was as Judge Isaac Parker in the 2023 Western television miniseries “Lawmen: Bass Reeves.” In 2017, he was presented with an Honorary Academy Award for his body of work, a moment he described as a “cool, wonderfully fresh breath of air.”

Beyond his professional achievements, Sutherland was known for his commitment to his family. He is survived by his wife, Francine Racette, and his five children: Kiefer and Rachel Sutherland, and Rossif, Roeg, and Angus Redford Sutherland. His memoir, titled “Made Up, but Still True,” is set to be published posthumously in November by Penguin Random House.

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