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‘Backdraft’ actor Donald Sutherland dies at 88

Sutherland played the role of arsonist Ronald Bartel in the 1991 firefighter film

By Joseph Wilkinson
New York Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Donald Sutherland, the Canadian actor who could effectively portray bad boys, leading men, mentors and complex combinations of the three, has died at age 88.

Sutherland’s son, Kiefer, announced his father’s death Thursday.

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“With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away,” the younger Sutherland wrote on social media. “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. A life well lived.”

Donald Sutherland’s breakthrough performance came in 1967’s “The Dirty Dozen,” in which he played the smart-aleck character Vernon Pinckley.

The part fit Sutherland perfectly, and he soon landed a similar role in 1970’s “MASH.” Back-to-back smash performances turned Sutherland into a bit of a leading man throughout the 1970s and ’80s, when he starred in “Klute,” “Don’t Look Now” and “Ordinary People,” among many other films.

Younger audiences possibly knew him best as the villainous President Snow from the “Hunger Games” trilogy, in which he portrayed the murderous dictator hoping to crush a budding revolution.

“One of my all-time favorite actors who played so many great roles,” Piers Morgan wrote Thursday. “What a sad loss.”

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