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THE MECHANIC

DONALD SUTHERLAND is a legendary actor known for his memorable performances in a wide diversity of roles in such classics as M*A*S*H, The Dirty Dozen, Klute, Ordinary People, Kelly's Heroes, Fellini's Casanova, The Eye of The Needle, 1900, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Animal House and a hundred and fifty more films.

Most recently he's starred opposite Jamie Bell and Channing Tatum in Kevin Macdonald's film, The Eagle, adapted from Rosemary Sutcliff's beloved classic children's novel, The Eagle of the Ninth, about a Roman Centurion in second century Britain. He appeared with Colin Firth in Horrible Bosses this September, and has just completed filming with Christian Slater in Sofia playing a role he survives for once.

Born in New Brunswick, Canada, Sutherland grew up in Nova Scotia and left, at the age of 17, having never seen the inside of a theatre, to study at University of Toronto determined to become an actor.

His success at the University's Hart House Theatre propelled him to London, more training, and work in the fortnightly repertory in Perth Scotland for a year and in plays in theatres all over the British Isles.

He was performing in ‘The Spoon River Anthology' at the Royal Court Theater in London when Warren Kiefer came back and asked him to come to Rome and shoot Il Castello di Vivi Morti. It gave him his first film role and the name of his son.

As a Canadian with a North Atlantic accent Sutherland was given the opportunity to be one of the bottom six in the classic war film, The Dirty Dozen (1967). The film starred Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas and Jim Brown, and when Clint Walker told director Robert Aldrich during a read through that he didn't feel that it was right that he, as a star in Hollywood playing a native American, should play a silly scene impersonating a General in front of Robert Ryan, Aldrich looked down the table and said: ‘You with the big ears – you do it.' The big ears bracketed Sutherland's head and his performance in that scene changed his life.

 Ingo Preminger saw it and offered him a film he was going to produce from a novel he'd bought. There was no director. No script. No other actors. Sutherland said ‘yes.' The novel was by Richard Hooker. The title of the novel was M*A*S*H.

He shot it on the Fox ranch with Elliott Gould, Bobbie Duvall, Sally Kellerman and Tom Skerritt, all under the guidance of Robert Altman. He was shooting Kelly's Heroes in Yugoslavia with Clint Eastwood when M*A*S*H sneaked in San Francisco. His life changed again.

The film is now considered a classic and one of the best films of the 70s.

Sutherland followed this with another classic, Alan Pakula's, Klute, in which he starred with his great and good friend Jane Fonda, in a suspense film about a New York prostitute whose friend is mysteriously murdered. Sutherland played a small town police detective who comes to New York to solve the case. Both actors received critical acclaim for their roles and Fonda won the Oscar for Best Actress.

 He then did Don't Look Now with Julie Christie in Venice. Nic Roeg directed it and Sutherland had the name of his second son and a role in a film that is truly, in every respect, regarded as exquisite.

 Sutherland took a supporting role in the early ‘70s that would become one of his most infamous and most critically acclaimed. The role was that of the murderous fascist leader in the Bernardo Bertolucci critically acclaimed Italian epic, 1900 (1976).

 He stayed in Italy for another year to work with the maestro, Federico Fellini, who had chosen Sutherland to be his ‘Casanova'. They shot for 14 months and Fellini called the result his favorite film.

In another supporting role at that time, Sutherland was the marijuana-­ smoking university professor in the seminal classic comedy Animal House (1976), the breakthrough film for director John Landis that Sutherland shot over one weekend in Oregon while he was filming Phil Kaufman's pitch perfect remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

He was the father in Robert Redford's critically acclaimed, Academy Award-­winning drama, Ordinary People (1980), the Nazi spy in The Eye of the Needle, based on the bestselling novel by Ken Follett, and the teacher struggling with South Africa's apartheid in The Dry White Season, in which he starred opposite Marlon Brando.

 In Oliver Stone's controversial JFK (1991) Sutherland played the chilling role of Mister X, based on the very real Fletcher Prouty, an anonymous source who gave crucial information about the politics surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.

He also appeared as the father to Nicole Kidman's character in Cold Mountain (2003) and Charlize Theron's character in The Italian Job (2003). Sutherland also gave memorable performances in Land of the Blind (2006) and Reign Over Me (2007).

He says now the roles he plays almost always have a death involved in them. His. His death. He looks at these roles as if he's cramming for his finals. Life goes on.

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