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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

ONLINE ONLY: Donald Sutherland in memoriam

We say goodbye to a seasoned actor and a great performer
SUTHERLAND

Donald Sutherland, the seasoned actor who died on June 20 at the age of 88, was an idol that I always enjoyed watching.  He was a tremendous performer who always brought something unique to all of his roles.  He had a likable onscreen presence.

I found it shocking that “Ordinary People,” which starred Sutherland as Calvin Jarrett and was directed by Robert Redford, beat out “Raging Bull,” starring Robert De Niro and directed by Martin Scorsese, at the Academy Awards in 1981.

In 1967, Sutherland joined the ensemble cast of “Dirty Dozen,” along with Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, George Kennedy and more.  He was outstanding as Vernon L. Pinkley in the World War II drama.  I gave it the grade of A+.

Sutherland reenlisted for cinematic World War II actioner duty with “Kelly’s Heroes,” directed by Brian G. Hutton in 1970.  He was terrific as Sergeant Oddball, a quirky tank commander.  My grade:  A+

In 1985, Sutherland led the cast in “Heaven Help Us,” a family comedy co-starring Andrew McCarthy and Mary Stuart Masterson.  In this facts-of-life story, Sutherland portrayed a priest, Brother Thadeus, a good authoritarian figure.   My grade:  A.

Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce on the set of the 1970 movie “M*A*S*H.” (Photos/IMDB)

“M*A*S*H,” the darkly comic Korean War drama, cemented Sutherland’s career in 1970.  Directed by the always quirky Robert Altman, it unfolds in a Korean War field hospital.  It also starred Elliott Gould as Trapper John McIntyre and Sally Kellerman as Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” O’Houlihan.  My grade:  A+

In 1993, Sutherland co-starred with Stockard Channing and an up-and-coming actor named Will Smith in the slice-of-life drama “Six Degrees of Separation.”  My grade:  C

Sutherland co-starred with Faye Dunaway and Christopher Plummer in “Ordeal by Innocence,” a 1984 mystery drama.  It was based on the Agatha Christie novel “Crooked House.”  My grade:  C

In “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978), Sutherland played San Francisco health inspector Matthew Bennell, who’s trying to figure out mysteries of strange happenings.  Leonard Nimoy, in a non-Spock “Star Trek” role, portrayed Dr. David Kibner.  This movie contains one of the best endings ever.  Like one of the “Planet of the Apes” adventures, it pulls the rug right out from under you.  My grade:  A+

Sutherland played President Snow in 2012’s “The Hunger Games” franchise.

Sutherland took on the role of an offbeat firebug in “Backdraft,” the 1991 drama directed by Ron Howard.  Kurt Russell, who’s always good, headed the cast as a Chicago firefighter.  My grade:  B+

In 2003, Sutherland played Charlize Theron’s screen father in the action crime-thriller “The Italian Job.”  The great ensemble cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton and Seth Green.  My grade:  A-

Near the end of his career, Sutherland played tyrannical dictator President Snow in “The Hunger Games” (2012) and several sequels.  My grade:  B-

I just enjoyed watching Sutherland’s movies.  He was a great performer.

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