Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly's Heroes actor, dies

20 June 2024, 15:01 | Updated: 20 June 2024, 19:46

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in films including The Hunger Games and Kelly's Heroes, has died at the age of 88.

His agency CAA said he died in Miami after a long illness.

The Canadian actor won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the mini-series Citizen X.

Follow live: Tributes paid to actor who 'made everything better'

In 2017, he received an honorary Oscar.

His son, fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland, best known for his role in the TV series 24, said "with a heavy heart" that his father had "passed away".

"I personally think [he was] one of the most important actors in the history of film," Kiefer Sutherland wrote on X, adding that his father was "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."

Director and former Happy Days star Ron Howard said he was "blessed" to direct Sutherland in 1991 movie Backdraft.

Sutherland was "one of the most intelligent, interesting and engrossing film actors of all time," Howard said, with an "incredible range" and "creative courage".

Donald Tusk, the prime minister of Poland, posted on X: "RIP Donald Sutherland - the best of all Donalds."

"I love to work - I passionately love to work," Sutherland told US talk show host Charlie Rose in 1998.

"I love to feel my hand fit into the glove of some other character. I feel a huge freedom - time stops for me. I'm not as crazy as I used to be, but I'm still a little crazy."

Sutherland's breakthrough performances were in the 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen and MASH, his agency said.

The actor also had roles in Robert Redford's Ordinary People and Oliver Stone's JFK. Sutherland played President Snow in the Hunger Games franchise alongside Jennifer Lawrence.

In Kelly's Heroes he starred alongside Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood as Sergeant Oddball - on a mission to steal gold from the Nazis.

He 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.

Born in St John, New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada in July 1935, Sutherland was the son of a salesman and a mathematics teacher.

He started university in Toronto as an engineering student but switched to English and started acting in college productions.

After graduating in 1956 he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and began to appear in West End plays and on British television.

He moved to Los Angeles and his career was boosted by a series of war films, playing irreverent soldier Vernon Pinkley in his first American film The Dirty Dozen.

Sutherland praised character actors in an interview with the Washington Post in 1970, saying: "There's longevity. A good character actor can show a different face in every film and not bore the public."