Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland, shown here in 2005, originated the "Hawkeye" Pierce role in the 1970 Robert Altman film MASH.
Personal Information
Gender: Male
Born: (1935-07-17) July 17, 1935 (age 83)
Birthplace Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Years active: 1962-present
Spouse(s): Lois Hardwick (m. 1959–1966, divorced)
Shirley Douglas (m. 1966–1970, divorced)
Francine Racette (1972-present)
Related to: Kiefer (son)
Rachel (daughter)
Rossif (son)
Angus (son)
Roeg (son)
Character information
Appeared on/in: MASH 1970 film
Character(s) played: Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

Donald Sutherland (born July 17, 1935) is the actor who played Cpt. Benjamin Franklin Pierce aka Hawkeye in the 1970 Robert Altman directed film MASH. He was replaced in the TV series by actor Alan Alda. Others also replaced or omitted from the TV series project were Margaret Houlihan and Henry Blake and the rest of the M*A*S*H* cast movie, with the notable exception of Walter "Radar" O'Reilly, played by actor Gary Burghoff. Also portraying the same character in two episodes was G. Wood as General Hammond.  Donald Sutherland is the father of actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Early lifeEdit

Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, the son of Dorothy Isobel (née McNichol; 1892–1956) and Frederick McLea Sutherland (1894–1983), who worked in sales and ran the local gas, electricity, and bus company.[1] His ancestry includes Scottish, as well as German and English.[2][3] As a child he battled rheumatic fever, hepatitis and poliomyelitis.[4] His teenage years were spent in Nova Scotia,[5] and he got his first part-time job at age 14 as a news correspondent for local independent radio station CKBW in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. He then studied at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, where he met his first wife Lois Hardwick (not the child star of the same name), and graduated with a double major in engineering and drama. He had at one point been a member of the "UC Follies" comedy troupe in Toronto. He changed his mind about becoming an engineer, and subsequently left Canada for England in 1957[6] to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Early acting careerEdit

In the early-to-mid-1960s, Sutherland began to gain small parts in British films and TV. He featured alongside Christopher Lee in horror films such as Castle of the Living Dead and Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), appeared in a 1967 episode of The Avengers entitled "The Superlative Seven" and twice appeared in the TV series The Saint, firstly in the 1965 episode "The Happy Suicide" and then, more auspiciously, in the episode "Escape Route" at the end of 1966. "Escape Route" was directed by the show's star, Roger Moore, who later recalled that Sutherland "asked me if he could show it to some producers as he was up for an important part... they came to view a rough cut at the studio and he got The Dirty Dozen". Sutherland was then on course for the first of the three war films which would make his name: as one of the The Dirty Dozen in 1967, alongside Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson; as the lead "Hawkeye" Pierce in Robert Altman produced/directed MASH in 1970; and, again in 1970, as hippy-like tank commander Sgt. Oddball in Kelly's Heroes, alongside Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas. In 1968, after the breakthrough in UK-made The Dirty Dozen, Sutherland left London permanently for Hollywood.

Sutherland won acclaim for his performance in the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci's 1976 epic film 1900 and as the conflicted father in the Academy award-winning family drama Ordinary People (1980) alongside Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton. In 1981 he narrated A War Story, an Anne Wheeler film. He played the part of physician-hero Norman Bethune in two separate biographical films in 1977 and 1990.

A prolific actor, some of Sutherland's better-known roles in the 1980s and 1990s were in the South African apartheid drama A Dry White Season (1989), alongside Marlon Brando and Susan Sarandon; as an incarcerated pyromaniac in the firefighter thriller Backdraft (1989) alongside Kurt Russell and Robert De Niro, Lock-Up (1991) with Sylvester Stallone; and as the snobbish NYC art dealer in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), with Stockard Channing and Will Smith. In the 1991 Oliver Stone film JFK, Sutherland played a mysterious Washington intelligence officer, reputed to have been L. Fletcher Prouty, who spoke of links to the military–industrial complex in the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He played psychiatrist and visionary Wilhelm Reich in the video for Kate Bush's 1985 single, "Cloudbusting".

Recent yearsEdit

In more recent years, Sutherland was noted for his role as Reverend Monroe in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain (2003), in the remake of The Italian Job (2003), in the TV series Commander in Chief (2005–2006), in the movie Fierce People (2005) with Diane Lane and Anton Yelchin, and as Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005), starring alongside Keira Knightley. He earned an Emmy nomination in 2006 for his performance in the miniseries Human Trafficking.

Sutherland starred as Tripp Darling in the prime time serial Dirty Sexy Money for ABC. As of 2012, Sutherland's distinctive voice has also been recently used in many radio and television commercials, including those for Volvo automobiles.


  1. Donald Sutherland Biography – Yahoo! Movies , first accessed March 2, 2011.
  2. by Tom Buckley, The New York Times - At the Movies October 17, 1980.
  3. Ancestry of Gov. Bill Richardson, retrieved 2012-06-17.
  4. NNDB Biog
  5. The Gainesville Sun, October 14, 1989: Sutherland gets a 'kick-start' for his soulRetrieved 2012-06-17.
  6. Donald Sutherland in TV interview during the shooting of [The Eagle has Landed (on the DVD): "I was in England from 1957 until 1968." Checked 2012-06-17.]

External linksEdit