Donald Sutherland, the New Brunswick-born acting legend known for his distinctive baritone voice and prolific career on stage and screen, has died at the age of 88, his son Kiefer Sutherland announced on social media on Thursday.

“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,” the younger Sutherland wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “A life well lived.”

Standing six-foot-four with striking blue eyes and a deep, melodious voice, Sutherland was an unmistakable presence in film, television, and radio for more than five decades.

He played a variety of roles in notable films such as the snarky surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in “MASH,” Julie Christie’s troubled husband in the thriller “Don’t Look Now,” and a Washington intelligence officer in Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”

On television, he portrayed the Speaker of the House in “Commander in Chief” and the wealthy patriarch in “Dirty, Sexy, Money.”

Despite appearing in over 100 films, Sutherland was never nominated for an Academy Award. However, he received an honorary Oscar in 2017, along with two BAFTA nominations, an Emmy Award, and two Golden Globes.

Actor Donald Sutherland dead at 88 - Boing Boing

He was also an officer of the Order of Canada and received both a Genie and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

In a 2023 interview with The Canadian Press, Sutherland reflected little on his legacy or the breadth of his career: “You know, it’s over or very nearly over, so I guess I really got to get down to thinking about it.”

Donald Sutherland, known for 'M*A*S*H' and 'The Hunger Games,' dead at 88

His memoir, “Made Up, But Still True,” is slated for publication by Viking Canada in November.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences, remembering Sutherland as “a man with a strong presence, a brilliance in his craft, and truly a great Canadian artist. He will be deeply missed.”

Despite his global career, Sutherland maintained a home in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, where he hosted dinner parties for his family and celebrity friends.

Sutherland was born in Saint John and raised in Bridgewater, N.S. His father, Frederick Sutherland, was a salesman, and his mother, Dorothy Isobel, was a mathematics teacher. Various reports indicate that Sutherland battled polio, rheumatic fever, and hepatitis as a child.

The Hunger Games and MASH star Donald Sutherland dies aged 88 | The  Independent

At 14, he began working part-time as a DJ and news broadcaster for local radio station CKBW, sparking a successful side career in multimedia voiceover work—a path also pursued by his son Kiefer.

Sutherland studied drama, engineering, and English at the University of Toronto, where he performed at the Hart House Theatre and met his first wife, Lois Hardwick. His memories of toga parties at U of T’s Gate House residence inspired the 1978 film “Animal House,” in which he co-starred.

Author Margaret Atwood recalled Sutherland from their time at Victoria College at the University of Toronto, stating, “He was a great actor even then.”

Legendary Canadian actor Donald Sutherland dead at 88 | 650 CKOM

After earning his degree in 1958, Sutherland attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in England, later acting with the Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland and on London’s West End.

Although he left Canada, he kept in touch with his family through letters, which he described as the thread that bound his family together.

In the early 1960s, Sutherland transitioned from stage to film, featuring in thrillers like “Castle of the Living Dead” and “Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors.” He also secured small roles in TV series such as “Court Martial” and “The Avengers.”

Donald Sutherland, known for playing off-kilter authority figures, has died  : NPR

In 1966, Sutherland married Canadian actress and activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of Medicare founder Tommy Douglas. They had twins, Rachel and Kiefer, with Kiefer becoming a star in his own right with films like “The Lost Boys” and the TV series “24.”

When Kiefer expressed his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, Donald advised him, “I don’t care what you do with your life. Just don’t lie in your work, because they’ll catch you.”

Donald Sutherland’s breakthrough in the U.S. came in 1967 with “The Dirty Dozen,” playing an imprisoned soldier during World War II. He solidified his Hollywood status with roles in “MASH” and “Kelly’s Heroes.”

Remembrance: Donald Sutherland (1935–2024)

The 1970s were particularly prolific for Sutherland, with varied roles in films like “Klute,” “Fellini’s Casanova,” “Animal House,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and “Don’t Look Now,” earning him two BAFTA nominations.

His private life also made headlines, including a relationship with “Klute” co-star Jane Fonda and his marriage to French-Canadian actress Francine Racette, with whom he had three sons: Roeg, Angus, and Rossif.

In the ’80s, Sutherland continued his impressive career, starring in nearly 20 films including “Ordinary People” and “Threshold,” earning a Golden Globe and a Genie award.

Actor Donald Sutherland 'died for four seconds' after contracting deadly  infection |

He won two Golden Globes: for “Citizen X” in 1996 and “Path to War” in 2003. He also worked alongside his sons, appearing with Kiefer in “Max Dugan Returns” and “A Time to Kill,” and with Rossif in “The Steal Artist.”

Rossif described working with his father as a dream, noting that his father was his biggest fan and supporter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2024.