'MASH' and 'Hunger Games' Actor Donald Sutherland Dead at 88

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"Versatile" and "Urbane" are two words that embody Donald Sutherland. He is an actor who has spanned audiences encompassing three generations. For the Baby Boomers it was roles like gumshoe John Klute in "Klute," Sgt. Oddball in "Kelly's Heroes," and Hawkeye Pierce in "MASH." For Gen X, it was his turns as Matthew Bennell in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," Professor Jenkins in "Animal House," and Calvin Jarrett in "Ordinary People." For Millennials, it was Jack Pellit in "Horrible Bosses," Mr. Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice," and President Coriolanus Snow in "The Hunger Games" trilogy. Gen Z was just getting to know his genius as Judge Parker in the Paramount Plus original miniseries, "Lawmen: Bass Reeves." Director Stephen Sean Ford put it most aptly: "Donald Sutherland was cinematic seasoning, put this man in anything and he'd make it so fucking tasty."

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The cinematic world is now a little less flavorful. Donald Sutherland passed away on Thursday after a long illness. He was 88.

Donald Sutherland, the beloved actor who starred in scores of films from The Dirty Dozen, MASH and Klute to Animal House and Ordinary People to Pride & Prejudice and The Hunger Games franchise and won an Emmy for Citizen X, died Thursday in Miami after a long illness. He was 88.

The 2017 Honorary Oscar recipient also is the father of Emmy-winning 24 and Designated Survivor actor Kiefer Sutherland and veteran CAA Media Finance exec Roeg Sutherland. CAA confirmed the news to Deadline.

Son Kiefer Sutherland took to X to announce his father's passing.

In numerology circles, the number 8 can signify a new beginning. A double appearance of this number signifies transformation. Sutherland's death at 88 can be considered a hat tip to his own transformation to the other side, but also that span of time his creative works' transformed popular culture. Sutherland acted in over 200 films and television shows over a 60-year career, and has worked with many high-profile directors, including Robert Aldrich, Alan Pakula, Robert Altman, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, and Gary Ross.

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In some of his most well-known roles, he perfected a laconic, wry and dead-serious delivery. Such was the case for characters including the cool-headed amateur murder investigator John Klute, opposite Jane Fonda’s terrified and erratic call girl Bree Daniels in Klute; as Hawkeye Pierce in the film MASH, where he played opposite Elliott Gould’s cut-up Trapper John; and in Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now as skeptical John Baxter, who does not believe the claims of wife Laura (Julie Christie) that their recently dead daughter is reaching out from the other side.

Sutherland was born Donald McNichol Sutherland on July 17, 1935, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. He studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in the early 1960s and began amassing roles on British television, including popular shows, "The Avengers" and "The Saint.” It was "The Saint" star and director, 007 Roger Moore, who recommended Sutherland to the producers of the 1967 World War II film, "The Dirty Dozen." Here, Sutherland parlayed his laconic, sarcastic demeanor in the role of misfit felon Vernon Pinkley, holding his own in a star-studded cast that included Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, and Telly Savalas. This was soon followed by the film that put Sutherland on the map: the 1970 Korean War comedy, "MASH," where his counterculture performance as war surgeon Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce set the standard for iconoclast characters. Sutherland even acted alongside his son Kiefer in the 1996 John Grisham drama, "A Time to Kill." Sutherland famously turned down an offer to play the fictional father to his scion's Jack Bauer character in the popular "24." The pair last appeared together in the 2014 Western "Forsaken."

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Though Sutherland was never nominated for an Academy Award for any of his many film roles, in 2017, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. Sutherland has received nominations for the BAFTA and a multitude of other acting accolades, including being nominated nine times for a Golden Globe. Sutherland won twice: in 1996 for "Citizen X," and in 2003 for "Path to War." Sutherland was nominated twice for an Emmy and won in 1995 for "Citizen X," and was nominated once again for the 2006 Lifetime movie, "Human Trafficking."   

Sutherland is survived by his five c.


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