Full Name: Donald McNichol Sutherland

Description: Actor, Canada

Known For: Known for the film – “Ordinary People” (1980)

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 17th July 1934
Location Born: New Brunswick, Canada

Web Site: Donald Sutherland

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Donald Sutherland OC

Donald McNichol Sutherland, OC (born 17 July 1935) is a Canadian actor whose film career spans 50 years. Sutherland is known for playing a diverse range of characters, both leading and supporting, in films such as The Dirty Dozen (1967), M*A*S*H (1970), Kelly’s Heroes (1970), Klute (1971), Don’t Look Now (1973), Fellini’s Casanova (1976), 1900 (1976), The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Ordinary People (1980), JFK (1991), Cold Mountain (2003), Pride & Prejudice (2005), and The Hunger Games film franchise (2012–2015). He is the father of actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, the son of Dorothy Isobel (née McNichol; 1892–1956) and Frederick McLea Sutherland (1894–1983), who worked in sales and ran the local gas, electricity and bus company. He is of Scottish, German and English ancestry. As a child he battled rheumatic fever, hepatitis, and poliomyelitis. His teenage years were spent in Nova Scotia, and he got his first part-time job at age 14 as a news correspondent for local radio station CKBW in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He graduated high school at Bridgewater High School. He then studied at Victoria College, University of Toronto, where he met his first wife Lois Hardwick (not to be confused with the child star of the same name), and graduated with a double major in engineering and drama. He had at one point been a member of the “UC Follies” comedy troupe in Toronto. He changed his mind about becoming an engineer, and left Canada for Britain in 1957, studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

After quitting the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Sutherland spent a year and a half at the Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland. In the early-to-mid-1960s, Sutherland began to gain small roles in British films and TV. He featured alongside Christopher Lee in horror films such as Castle of the Living Dead (1964) and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965). In the same year, he appeared in the Cold War classic The Bedford Incident and appeared in the TV series The Saint, in the 1965 episode “The Happy Suicide”. In 1966, Sutherland appeared in the BBC TV play Lee Oswald – Assassin, playing a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Givens (even though Givens himself was an African-American).

In 1967, he appeared in “The Superlative Seven”, an episode of The Avengers. He also made a second, and more substantial appearance in The Saint. The episode, “Escape Route”, was directed by the show’s star, Roger Moore, who later recalled that Sutherland “asked me if he could show it to some producers as he was up for an important role… they came to view a rough cut at the studio and he got The Dirty Dozen”. The film, which starred Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, was the 5th highest grossing film of 1967 and MGM’s highest grossing movie of the year.

In 1968, after the breakthrough in the UK-filmed The Dirty Dozen, Sutherland left London for Hollywood. He then made a further two war films in relative quick succession, taking the lead as “Hawkeye” Pierce in Robert Altman’s MASH in 1970; and, again in 1970, as hippie tank commander Sgt. Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes.

During the filming of the Academy award-winning detective thriller Klute, Sutherland had an intimate relationship with co-star Jane Fonda. Sutherland and Fonda went on to co-produce and star together in the anti-Vietnam War documentary F.T.A. (1972), consisting of a series of sketches performed outside army bases in the Pacific Rim and interviews with American troops who were then on active service. A follow up to their teaming up in Klute, Sutherland and Fonda performed together in Steelyard Blues (1972), a “freewheeling, Age-of-Aquarius, romp-and-roll caper” from the writer David S. Ward.

Sutherland found himself as a leading man throughout the 1970s in films such as the Venice-based psychological horror film Don’t Look Now (1973), the war film The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Federico Fellini’s Casanova (1976) and the thriller Eye of the Needle (which was filmed on location on the Isle of Mull, West Scotland) and as the ever-optimistic health inspector in the science fiction/horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) alongside Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum. In 1975 he starred in The Day of the Locust opposite Karen Black; Sutherland played the lead character, Homer Simpson, in this drama based on the book by Nathanael West.

He helped launch the internationally popular Canadian television series Witness to Yesterday, with a performance as the Montreal doctor Norman Bethune, a physician and humanitarian, largely talking of Bethune’s experiences in revolutionary China. Sutherland refused a script for this role, saying he knew Bethune’s life so well they could ask him anything—and the interviewer ended up with enough material for two programs instead of the planned one. (citation needed)

Sutherland also had a role as pot smoking Professor Dave Jennings in National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978, making himself known to younger fans as a result of the movie’s popularity. When cast, he was offered either $40,000 up front or a percentage of the movie. Thinking the movie would certainly not be a big success, he chose the 40K upfront payment. The movie eventually grossed $141,600,000.

He won acclaim for his performance in the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1976 epic film 1900 and as the conflicted father in the Academy award-winning family drama Ordinary People (1980), alongside Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton. In 1981 he narrated A War Story, an Anne Wheeler film. He played the role of physician-hero Norman Bethune in two biographical films in 1977 and 1990.

Some of Sutherland’s better known roles in the 1980s and 1990s were in the South African apartheid drama A Dry White Season (1989), alongside Marlon Brando and Susan Sarandon; as a sadistic warden in Lock Up (1989) with Sylvester Stallone; as an incarcerated pyromaniac in the firefighter thriller Backdraft (1990) alongside Kurt Russell and Robert De Niro and as a snobbish NYC art dealer in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), with Stockard Channing and Will Smith. In the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK, he played a mysterious Washington intelligence officer, reputed to have been L. Fletcher Prouty, who spoke of links to the military–industrial complex in the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He played psychiatrist and visionary Wilhelm Reich in the video for Kate Bush’s 1985 single, “Cloudbusting”.


In 1992, he played the role of Merrick in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Kristy Swanson. In 1994, he played the head of a government agency hunting for aliens that take over people’s bodies similar to the premise of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the movie of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1951 book The Puppet Masters. In 1994 he also played a software company’s scheming CEO in Barry Levinson’s drama Disclosure opposite Michael Douglas and Demi Moore, and in 1995 was cast as Maj. Gen. Donald McClintock in Wolfgang Petersen’s Outbreak. He was later cast in 1996 (for only the second time) with his son Kiefer in Joel Schumacher’s A Time to Kill. Sutherland played famous American Civil War General P.G.T. Beauregard in the 1999 film The Hunley. He played an aging but enthusiastic astronaut in Space Cowboys (2000), co-starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

Personal life

Sutherland was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on 18 December 1978 and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2000. He maintains a home in Georgeville, Quebec.

His son, Kiefer, an actor best known for his role as Jack Bauer on the TV action/thriller series 24, and Kiefer’s twin sister, Rachel, were born to Sutherland and his second wife, Shirley Douglas, daughter of well-known Canadian politician and the “father” of Canada’s universal healthcare system, Tommy Douglas.

Donald Sutherland met his current wife, French Canadian actress Francine Racette, on the set of the Canadian pioneer drama Alien Thunder. They have three sons: Rossif Sutherland, Angus Redford Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland.

His four sons have all been named after directors whom Sutherland has worked with: Kiefer is named after American-born director and writer Warren Kiefer, who, under the assumed name of Lorenzo Sabatini,[20] directed Sutherland in his very first feature film, the Italian low-budget horror film Il castello dei morti vivi (Castle of the Living Dead); Roeg is named after director Nicolas Roeg; Rossif is named after French director Frédéric Rossif; and Angus Redford has his middle name after Robert Redford.

Sutherland became a blogger for the American news website The Huffington Post during the 2008 United States presidential election campaign. In his blogs, he stated his support for Barack Obama.

Films include

Castle of the Living Dead (1964)
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
Fanatic! (1966)
The Bedford Incident (1965)
Promise Her Anything (1966)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Joanna (1968)
The Sunshine Patriot (1968)
The Split (1968)
Interlude (1968)
Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
Alex in Wonderland (1970)
Act of the Heart (1970)
Little Murders (1971)
Klute (1971)
Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
F.T.A. (1972)
Steelyard Blues (1973)
Lady Ice (1973)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Alien Thunder (1973)
S*P*Y*S (1974)
The Day of the Locust (1975)
End of the Game (1976)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)
1900 (1976)
Blood Relatives (1977)
The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
The Disappearance (1977)
Bethune (1977)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Murder by Decree (1979)
A Man, a Woman and a Bank (1979)
The Great Train Robbery (1979)
Bear Island (1979)
Ordinary People (1980)
Nothing Personal (1980)
Threshold (1981)
Gas (1981)
Eye of the Needle (1981)
The Winter of Our Discontent (1983)
Max Dugan Returns (1983)
Ordeal by Innocence (1984)
Crackers (1984)
Revolution (1985)
Heaven Help Us (1985)
The Wolf at the Door (1986)
The Trouble with Spies (1987)
The Rosary Murders (1987)
Apprentice to Murder (1988)
Lost Angels (1989)
Lock Up (1989)
A Dry White Season (1989)
Buster’s Bedroom (1990)
Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990)
Scream of Stone (1991)
Long Road Home (1991)
JFK (1991)
Eminent Domain (1991)
Backdraft (1991)
The Railway Station Man (1992)
Quicksand: No Escape (1992)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Younger & Younger (1993)
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Shadow of the Wolf (1993)
Benefit of the Doubt (1993)
The Puppet Masters (1994)
Punch (1994)
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994)
The Lifeforce Experiment (1994)
Disclosure (1994)
Outbreak (1995)
Hollow Point (1995)
Citizen X (1995)
A Time to Kill (1996)
The Assignment (1997)
Natural Enemy (1997)
Shadow Conspiracy (1997)
Free Money (1998)
Fallen (1998)
Without Limits (1998)
Behind the Mask (1999)
Virus (1999)
Instinct (1999)
The Hunley (1999)
Toscano (1999)
The Setting Sun (1999)
Panic (2000)
Space Cowboys (2000)
The Art of War (2000)
Threads of Hope (voice) (2000)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Uprising (TV) (2001)
Queen Victoria’s Empire (TV) (2001)
Big Shot’s Funeral A Chinese comedy directed by Xiaogang Feng (2002)
Path to War (TV) (2002)
Fellini: I’m a Born Liar (2002)
The Italian Job (2003)
Piazza delle cinque lune (2003)
Baltic Storm (2003)
Cold Mountain (2003)
Salem’s Lot (TV) (2004)
Frankenstein (TV) (2004)
Aurora Borealis (2004)
Fierce People (2005)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
American Gun (2005)
Lord of War (2005)
Commander-in-Chief (TV) (2005-2006)
Human Trafficking Lifetime TV mini-series (2005)
An American Haunting (2006)
Ask the Dust (2006)
Beerfest (2006)
Land of the Blind (2006)
Reign Over Me (2007)
Puffball (2007)
Dirty Sexy Money (TV) (2007)
Fool’s Gold (2008)
Astro Boy (2009)