The Most Touching Celebrity Tributes To Donald Sutherland After His Death

Film fans of all generations were saddened to hear that one of Hollywood's most revered legends, Donald Sutherland, died recently at the age of 88 from an unspecified "long illness," as Today quotes. With a life of many tragedies and a career spanning over six decades, around 200 film credits, and a litany of awards to his name, the actor brought his tremendous talent and potent presence to every role, large and small. Few things illustrate his impact more than the words of the fellow celebrities with whom he worked.

Out of the host of tributes released in honor of Sutherland, we'd be remiss not to place his own son, Kiefer, at the top of the list. On X, the younger Sutherland spoke matter-of-factly of his father, revealing as much with what he didn't say as with what he did say, "With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away. 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."

At present Kiefer is the only member of the Sutherland family who's made any public statement about the legendary actor's death. No doubt Sutherland's four other children — who all work in show business to different degrees — granddaughter, and wife of 52 years, Francine Racette, keenly mourn his loss. 

Revered by veteran actors

Donald Sutherland worked in Hollywood long enough to leave his mark on actors, directors, producers, etc., young and old. In some cases while each were in their late years, like Helen Mirren on 2017's "The Leisure Seeker." But it's the words of such famous stage-and-screen veterans — those who've watched generations of talent come and go — who provide us with the most striking examples of tributes to the late Sutherland.

Speaking of Mirren, her words stand out above all others. As she said to The Hollywood Reporter, "Donald Sutherland was one of the smartest actors I ever worked with. He had a wonderful enquiring brain, and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. He combined this great intelligence with a deep sensitivity, and with a seriousness about his profession as an actor. This all made him into the legend of film that he became. I will miss his presence in this world."

Mirroring Mirren's words, renowned director Ron Howard said on X, "I was blessed to direct him in #Backdraft. One of the most intelligent, interesting & engrossing film actors of all time. Incredible range, creative courage & dedication to serving the story & the audience with supreme excellence."

Actor Rob Lowe echoed both of their statements, respectfully saying on X, "I will never forget his charisma and ability. If you want a master class in acting, watch him in 'Ordinary People.'" He added a kind word to Sutherland's son, saying, "My condolences to Kiefer."

Esteemed by a younger generation

For many younger people, their first and most prominent exposure to Donald Sutherland came via his role in "The Hunger Games" films as the menacing President Snow. And indeed, many former personnel from the series — including the recent 2023 installment, "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" — have come forward to honor the performer. 

The official Hunger Games account on X spoke of Sutherland in glowing terms worth quoting in full: "We asked the kindest man in the world to portray the most corrupt, ruthless dictator we've ever seen. Such was the power and skill of Donald Sutherland's acting that he created one more indelible character among many others that defined his legendary career. We are privileged to have known and worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family."

Producer Nina Jacobson — who produced all five "The Hunger Games" films — said of Sutherland on X, "Snow has fallen and we couldn't be more heartbroken. Donald Sutherland was a gentleman, a thinker and a master of his craft. We have lost one of the true reigning greats of our industry. Our hearts go out to his family and his legion of fans around the world."

Finally, "The Hunger Games" newcomer Tom Blyth said on Instagram, "Donald Sutherland came about as close to mastering the craft of acting as anyone gets. So many genius performances. I never had the honor of knowing him personally, but it was the honor of a lifetime to follow in his footsteps."