‘The Hunger Games’ star Donald Sutherland dies of illness at 88

Donald Sutherland's recent acclaim and renewed prominence in popular culture came after his role as President Snow in ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise. He also appeared as Judge Parker in the series ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ and in the 2022 series ‘Swimming With Sharks’.

Updated21 Jun 2024, 07:33 AM IST
A file photo of actor Donald Sutherland posing with his Governors Award in November 2017
A file photo of actor Donald Sutherland posing with his Governors Award in November 2017(Reuters / Mario Anzuoni)

Famous Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, known for his iconic roles in films like 'The Dirty Dozen' and "The Hunger Games," has died at the age of 88 in Miami following an extended illness, according to Variety.

Born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Sutherland rose to fame with a diverse array of roles that showcased his versatility and talent. He became a countercultural icon with roles in classic films such as "The Dirty Dozen," "MASH," "Klute," and "Don't Look Now," among many others. Throughout his career, he portrayed villains, antiheroes, romantic leads, and mentor figures with equal aplomb, winning accolades and adoration from audiences worldwide.

Sutherland's recent acclaim included his role as President Snow in "The Hunger Games" franchise, which brought him renewed prominence in popular culture. He continued to captivate audiences with his performances, appearing as Judge Parker in the series "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" and in the 2022 series "Swimming With Sharks."

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A Long, Illustrious Career

His achievements were not limited to the big screen. Sutherland won a supporting actor Emmy for his compelling portrayal in HBO's "Citizen X" in 1995 and received critical acclaim for his role in the Lifetime miniseries "Human Trafficking" in 2006.

Beginning his career with roles in low-budget horror films like "Castle of the Living Dead" (1963) and "Die! Die! My Darling!" (1965), Sutherland quickly ascended to more significant roles, including his memorable part in "The Dirty Dozen" (1967) and his collaboration with Elliot Gould in "Little Murders" (1971) and Irvin Kershner in "SPYS" (1974).

His role as Sgt. Oddball in the WWII action film "Kelly's Heroes" (1970), alongside Clint Eastwood, solidified his reputation as a scene-stealer with his portrayal of an eccentric tank commander. Sutherland later reunited with Eastwood in "Space Cowboys" (2000), showcasing his versatility as a former hotshot pilot.

In 1971, Sutherland starred in "Klute," directed by Alan J. Pakula, opposite Jane Fonda, marking a significant milestone in his career. His portrayal of a troubled detective who becomes romantically entangled with a call girl (Fonda) earned critical acclaim, with Fonda crediting Sutherland for her Oscar-winning performance.

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Beyond his acting prowess, Sutherland was known for his activism during the Vietnam War era. Alongside Fonda, Peter Boyle, and Howard Hesseman, he co-founded the controversial antiwar troupe FTA (Free the Army), which performed for troops and drew the ire of government agencies like the Pentagon and the FBI.

A Legacy of Memorable Performances

Sutherland's career continued to evolve with roles in influential films such as Nicholas Roeg's psychological thriller "Don't Look Now" (1973), where his restrained acting style complemented Julie Christie's performance in a haunting tale of grief and loss.

Despite occasional setbacks, including turning down roles in films like "Deliverance" (1972) and opting for unconventional choices like "Alex in Wonderland" (1970) over "Straw Dogs" (1971), Sutherland's commitment to challenging roles remained unwavering. His portrayal of complex characters in films like "Fellini's Casanova" (1976) and Bertolucci's "1900" (1977) underscored his willingness to take risks and explore diverse facets of human nature.

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In 1980, Sutherland delivered a career-defining performance in "Ordinary People," directed by Robert Redford, where he portrayed a grieving father navigating family turmoil. His portrayal earned widespread acclaim, showcasing his ability to delve into profound emotional depths.

Throughout his career, Donald Sutherland's contributions to cinema were marked by his dedication to his craft, versatility in roles, and a commitment to artistic integrity. His passing leaves behind a legacy of memorable performances and a lasting impact on the film industry.

Donald Sutherland is survived by his family and remembered fondly by colleagues, fans, and admirers around the world for his extraordinary talent and contributions to cinema.

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First Published:21 Jun 2024, 07:33 AM IST
HomeNewsWorld‘The Hunger Games’ star Donald Sutherland dies of illness at 88

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