Donald Sutherland’s family ‘overwhelmed’ by tributes to The Hunger Games actor

The family of Donald Sutherland has been “overwhelmed” by tributes to the late Canadian actor.

The Hollywood star, known for his impressive catalogue of almost 200 films, was involved in some of the biggest pictures including Ordinary People, M*A*S*H, The Dirty Dozen and The Hunger Games franchise.

Sutherland died at the age of 88 on Thursday in Miami following a long illness.

His son, the 24 TV series actor Kiefer Sutherland, was among those who hailed Sutherland as “one of the most important actors in the history of film”.

Rob Lowe, who was in the TV show Salem’s Lot with Sutherland echoed the sentiments, saying he was “one of our greatest actors”, while US president Joe Biden called him a “one-of-a-kind actor who inspired and entertained the world for decades”.

Tributes also came in from former co-stars Will Smith, Jane Fonda, and British actress Dame Helen Mirren as well as political leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Polish leader Donald Tusk.

On Friday, Kiefer wrote on Instagram: “My family and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of condolences and support over the last 24 hours. Thank you very much.”

Sutherland had roles across a range of genres, including thriller The Mechanic, Roman epic The Eagle, satire The Day Of The Locust, horror Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, drama Space Cowboys and period drama Pride & Prejudice.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – London
The cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (Ian West/PA)

He is perhaps best known as the womanising Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce Jr in the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H and eventually became a leading campaigner against war.

His co-star Elliott Gould, who played the sarcastic Captain “Trapper” John Francis Xavier McIntyre, called Sutherland a “giant” of acting who was “enormously kind and generous”.

Fonda, who won the Oscar for best actress after starring in the 1971 thriller Klute, dated him for a period.

In the 1970s, they also staged a travelling anti-war roadshow in front of US soldiers – a reaction to Bob Hope’s United Service Organisations (USO) tour for the troops amid the Vietnam War.

She wrote on Instagram that she was “heartbroken”.

Fonda also said: “Donald was a brilliant actor and a complex man who shared quite a few adventures with me, such as the FTA Show, an anti-Vietnam war tour that performed for 60,000 active duty soldiers, sailors, and marines in Hawaii, Okinawa, the Philippines, and Japan in 1971.”

National Television Awards 2014 – Show – London
Kiefer Sutherland (Ian West/PA)

During his esteemed career, Sutherland won a Golden Globe for the TV movie Path To War for playing presidential adviser Clark Clifford, and a second for the mini-series Citizen X, which also earned him an Emmy Award.

He starred in the 1980 drama Ordinary People, which later won four Oscars – including best picture, supporting actor for Timothy Hutton, and best director for Robert Redford.

The Princess Bride star Cary Elwes called working with Sutherland during Second World War drama Uprising “one of the great joys of my career”.

He added on Instagram: “I am devastated. We were just about to start another movie together when he got sick.”

In 2017, Sutherland received an Academy Honorary Award for his acting but failed to get an Oscar nod during his lengthy time on the big and small screen.

His most recent roles included playing dictator President Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games film franchise and as a judge in the 2023 TV show Lawmen: Bass Reeves.

Actor Tom Blyth, who played a younger version of Coriolanus in prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, wrote that he got as “close to mastering the craft of acting as anyone gets” before adding that it “was the honour of a lifetime to follow in his footsteps”.

Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen also thanked Sutherland for having the privilege of knowing him for “three weeks” as part of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival jury.

Mikkelsen wrote on Instagram: “I was lucky enough to spend three intense weeks with you, your wit and your immense love for your craft. A true legend you were, and everyone who met you can consider themselves lucky.”

Sutherland was set to bring out his memoir Made Up, But Still True in November before his death.

He is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.