Entertainment

Jane Fonda leads tributes to Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland

Tributes have poured in for actor Donald Sutherland after he died following a long illness.

The 88-year-old was best known for his roles in Ordinary People, The Hunger Games franchise and M*A*S*H.

His son, Kiefer Sutherland, confirmed the news “with a heavy heart” as Oscar-winner Jane Fonda and other stars of the big screen led tributes to the Canadian actor.

“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,” the son said of his father.

File photo dated 05/11/15 of Donald Sutherland attending the UK Premiere of The Hunger Games:…
Image:
Donald Sutherland attending the UK premiere of The Hunger Games

Among Sutherland’s best-known roles was the detective John Klute, who attempted to protect Fonda’s character Bree Daniels from a killer stalking her.

More on Kiefer Sutherland

US actress Fonda shared a black-and-white image of Sutherland from their 1971 hit where she won her Oscar for best actress, and said: “I am heartbroken,”.

The pair dated for a period in 1971 and staged a travelling anti-war roadshow for US soldiers.

Actor Donald Sutherland answers questions from film critic Leonard Maltin in 1998. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Actor Donald Sutherland answers questions from film critic Leonard Maltin in 1998. Pic: Reuters

Leading politicians like US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also paid tribute after the actor’s passing.

Mr Trudeau called him a “truly great Canadian artist”, after he learned of his death during a news conference relating to a national school food programme.

Mr Biden described Sutherland as a “one-of-a-kind actor who inspired and entertained the world for decades” in a post on X.

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Flowers placed on Sutherland’s star

Dame Helen Mirren was among the British actors and actresses paying tribute.

She appeared alongside Sutherland in 2017’s The Leisure Seeker, following their 1990 drama Bethune: The Making Of A Hero.

“Donald Sutherland was one of the smartest actors I ever worked with,” Dame Helen said in a statement.

“He had a wonderful enquiring brain and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.

“He combined this great intelligence with a deep sensitivity and with a seriousness about his profession as an actor.

“This all made him into the legend of film that he became.”

Most recently, many will know Sutherland from his role in The Hunger Games franchise where he played dictator President Coriolanus Snow.

The official account for The Hunger Games film called him “the kindest man in the world” who portrayed “the most corrupt, ruthless dictator we’ve ever seen”.

Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters


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Throughout his career, Sutherland is perhaps best known as the womanising Captain Benjamin Franklin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce Junior, from the 1970 film version M*A*S*H.

His co-star Elliott Gould, who played the Captain ‘Trapper’ John Francis Xavier McIntyre, called Sutherland a “giant” who was “enormously kind and generous”.

Gould recalled they were both “young fathers” when they worked together and said his death “really profoundly hurts because Donald was like my brother, and a big part of my own career”.

Rob Lowe, known for his role in The West Wing and a number of other movies, said Sutherland was “one of our greatest actors” and that it had been an “honour” to star alongside him on the miniseries Salem’s Lot, in 2004.

“I will never forget his charisma and ability,” Lowe said.

Others, including Elijah Wood, who rose to fame playing Frodo Baggins, paid tribute as well.

Sutherland is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

His agency said a private celebration of his life will be held by the family.

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