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Donald Sutherland

Date of Birth: Wednesday, July 17, 1935
AGE: 83
Occupation: Actor

Biography: Donald McNichol Sutherland is a Canadian actor with a film career spanning nearly 50 years. Some of Sutherland?s more notable movie roles included offbeat warriors in such war movies as The Dirty Dozen, in 1967, and MASH and Kelly?s Heroes in 1970, as well as in such popular films as Klute, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, JFK and Ordinary People. He is the father of actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, the son of Dorothy Isobel (nee McNichol and Frederick McLea Sutherland, who worked in sales and ran the local gas, electricity, and bus company. He spent most of his childhood in Hampton, New Brunswick, along the Kennebecasis River. His teenage years were spent in Nova Scotia. He got his first part time job at age 14 as a news correspondent for local radio station CKBW in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He then studied at Victoria College, University of Toronto, where he met his first wife Lois Hardwick 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 subsequently left Canada for England to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

In the early to mid-1960s, Sutherland began to get small parts in British films and TV, landing notable roles in horror films with Christopher Lee, such as Castle of the Living Dead (1964) and Dr. Terror?s House of Horrors (1965) and twice appearing in The Saint, firstly in the 1965 episode "The Happy Suicide" and then, more auspiciously, in a story called "Escape Route" at the end of 1966. The episode 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 part... they came to view a rough cut at the studio and he got The Dirty Dozen. Thus, Sutherland was on course for the first of the three war films which would be his initial great successes: The Dirty Dozen in 1967, with Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson; in 1970, as the lead "Hawkeye" Pierce in Robert Altman?s MASH; and, again in 1970, as tank commander Sgt. Oddball in Kelly?s Heroes, with Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas. During his time in England Sutherland also appeared in The Avengers in 1967, in an episode titled "The Superlative Seven."

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, in Quebec?s Eastern Townships. Sutherland was a major fan of the Montreal Expos.

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 film 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 in demand 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 in the science fiction/horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) alongside Brooke Adams and Jeff Goldblum.

A prolific actor, some of Sutherland?s better-known roles in the 1980s and 1990s were in A Dry White Season (1989), Backdraft (1991), and Six Degrees of Separation (1993).

In more recent years, Sutherland has played an aging yet ready-for-liftoff astronaut in 2000?s Space Cowboys, co-starring with director Clint Eastwood.

He was also noted for his roles in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain (2003), the remake of The Italian Job (2003), the TV series Commander in Chief (2005-2006), the movie Fierce People (2005) and Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Sutherland starred as Tripp Darling in the prime time serial Dirty Sexy Money for ABC.

Sutherland?s distinctive voice has also been used in many radio and television commercials, including those for Volvo automobiles. He provided voice-overs and narration during the intro of 1st semifinal of Eurovision Song Contest 2009, and the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and was also one of the Olympic flag bearers.

Son Kiefer Sutherland, a successful actor best-known for his role as Jack Bauer on the TV action/thriller series 24, and his twin sister, Rachel, were born to Donald Sutherland and his second wife, Shirley Douglas, daughter of politician 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, including actor Rossif Sutherland, Angus Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland

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