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Actor Donald Sutherland dies at 88

The star was known for his role in The Hunger Games, as well as playing Kate Bush's father in her Cloudbusting video

By Dale Fox

Donald Sutherland (Image: Wikimedia commons; KateBushMusic/YouTube)

Actor Donald Sutherland has died at 88 after a “long illness”, his agency CAA has announced.

His son, actor Kiefer Sutherland, confirmed the news on social media, writing: “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.”

Sutherland’s career spanned over six decades, during which he amassed nearly 200 acting credits across film and television. Born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1935, he began his career as a radio news reporter before moving to London in 1957 to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

His breakout role came in the 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen, but it was the 1970s that truly launched Sutherland to stardom. He starred as army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in Robert Altman’s MASH (1970) and played the titular detective in Klute (1971) opposite Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her performance.

In recent years, Sutherland introduced himself to a new generation of moviegoers as the villainous President Snow in The Hunger Games film series (2012-2015). He also starred in the 1985 music video for the Kate Bush hit ‘Cloudbursting’, as the father of a young boy played by Bush.

In an interview with Sutherland in 2000, Time Out (via Kate Bush News) described the actor’s experience meeting the musical genius.

“He was staying in London when he heard that Kate Bush was trying to track him down. ‘I didn’t know who she was, so I refused. Next thing I knew, there was this knock at the door, and it was her.’ Sutherland swiftly thawed – ‘she was so funny’ – especially when he learned that the reclusive songstress wanted him to play Wilhelm Reich”.

CAA also announced that a private celebration of Sutherland’s life will be held by the family in due course.