Donald Sutherland is one of the most prolific and versatile of motion picture actors, with an astonishing resume of well over one hundred films, ranging from the biting political satire of Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H to the intimate drama of Robert Redford’s Ordinary People to the subtle intricacy of Alan Pakula’s Klute to the eccentric romanticism of Fellini’s Casanova.
Sutherland has made films with Bernardo Bertolucci (1900), Nicolas Roeg (Don’t Look Now), John Schlesinger (The Day of the Locust), Brian Hutton (Kelly’s Heroes ), Paul Mazursky (Alex in Wonderland), Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen), John Sturges (The Eagle Has Landed), Herbert Ross (Max Dugan Returns), Louis Malle (Crackers), Philip Borsos (Bethune), Ron Howard (Backdraft), Richard Marquand (Eye of the Needle), Euzhan Palcy (A Dry White Season), Richard Pearce (Threshold, for which he won the 1983 Genie Award as Best Actor), Oliver Stone (JFK), Fred Schepisi (his adaptation of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation), Robert Towne (Without Limits), Clint Eastwood (Space Cowboys), and John Landis (a memorable cameo in National Lampoon’s Animal House).
Sutherland has appeared as Nicole Kidman’s father in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain, as Charlize Theron’s father in F. Gary Gray’s The Italian Job and as Mr. Bennett, Keira Knightley’s father, in Pride and Prejudice. For the latter he received a Chicago Film Critics nomination.
In the past three years, he has starred in Andy Tennant’s comedy Fool’s Gold, with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson; in Griffin Dunne’s Fierce People with Diane Lane; in Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust with Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell; in American Gun with Forrest Whitaker; in An American Haunting with Sissy Spacek; in Land of the Blind with Ralph Fiennes and in Aurora Borealis with Louise Fletcher and Juliette Lewis. He is part of a sterling ensemble of on-camera readers in the biographical feature on the life of Dalton Trumbo, Trumbo.
He will next be heard as the voice of ‘General Stone,’ alongside Nicholas Cage, Kristen Bell and Freddie Highmore, in Imagi Studio and Summit Entertainment’s animated feature film of the manga classic, Astro Boy. He is currently filming, back-to-back roles in The Eagle of the Ninth, directed by Kevin Macdonald for Focus Features and Film4, a longform adaptation of Ken Follett’s best-seller, The Pillars of the Earth, with Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell, and a new film adaptation of Moby Dick, with William Hurt, Ethan Hawke and Gillian Anderson.
On television, Sutherland co-starred with Peter Krause in the ABC-TV series Dirty Sexy Money. For his performance as the family patriarch, Tripp Darling, he was nominated for a 2007 Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor. Prior to that, he co-starred with Geena Davis in the ABC drama series Commander-in-Chief, and was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of House Speaker, Nathan Templeton. At the same time, he was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor for his performance opposite Mira Sorvino in Lifetime Television’s much-lauded miniseries, Human Trafficking. He has won Emmy and Golden Globe awards as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the HBO film Citizen X and he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Clark Clifford, advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, in the HBO historical drama Path to War, directed by the late John Frankenheimer.
On stage, Sutherland starred with Justin Kirk and Julianna Margulies in a sold-out, critically acclaimed, Lincoln Center engagement of Jon Robin Baitz’s Ten Unknowns. For that performance he received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Actor. He also starred in the London, Toronto and Los Angeles productions of Enigmatic Variations, an English language translation (by his son Roeg Sutherland) of Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s French play. Donald Sutherland was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1978 and an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France five years later.
Sutherland currently divides his time between Quebec and Santa Monica, California.