Donald Sutherland passes, age 88

| June 20, 2024

Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes

We tend not to post articles about the deaths of celebrities unless they were veterans, such as yesterday’s Willie Mays post. Donald Sutherland has passed at the age of 88. Sutherland was a Canadian, and was not a veteran of their military or ours. I am mentioning his death though, because Donald Sutherland played some of the best characters in 1960s military movies.

One of Sutherland’s early theatrical roles was as Private Vernon Pinkley (#2) in 1967’s The Dirty Dozen. You’ll recall Lee Marvin played the commanding officer of a ragtag group of misfit soldiers. The film had several actors that were either stars or soon would be. Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Telly Savalas, and George Kennedy are just some of the men who shared the screen with Sutherland. It was Sutherland who stole the show though with his quirky portrayal of the goofy private. This was best exemplified when Lee Marvin’s Major Reisman forces Pinkley to pretend to be a general and conduct an inspection of some troops. It was Sutherland who delivered the excellent line, “Very pretty, Colonel, Very pretty, But, can they fight?” Watch below.

In 1970, Sutherland starred in two classic war movies. First was M*A*S*H as Hawkeye Pierce with Tom Skeritt, Elliot Gould, Robert Duvall, and Rene Auberjonois. Second was Kelly’s heroes where Sutherland played Sergeant “Oddball.” This film reunited him with Telly Savalas who headlined with Clint Eastwood.

In a career that spanned seven decades (with at least 200 credits to his name), Sutherland had myriad iconic roles, but these three will be instantly and forever remembered by our readership here.

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jeff LPH 3 63-66

Just saw it on home page and read bio. great movies and he was an anti war activis, well anyway,
RIP Donald


He also banged Karen Allen in Animal house.


F#ck him and Jane Fonda.


Last edited 1 month ago by Anonymous

How can you not love a Sherman tank commander/beatnik all rolled up into one? Plus he’s got Capt. Stubbing in his crew?

If you start hating on entertainers/artists because of their politics, there’s not much to like. I like Clint Eastwood because of the roles he plays/how he plays them not just because his politics align more with mine then most of Hollywood. Good director too.

Dennis - not chevy

Kelly’s Heroes is one of my favorites; however, I feel if one’s political outlook is unfavorable to the military, one should not make military themed movies. Alas, many people who have never worn the uniform have made zillions wearing a uniform on the silver screen.


John Wayne never served…


Yes he never served. He had a very favorable opinion of the military. Promoted military service and patriotism.


Worked with a guy who was Wayne’s cabin boy on one of his yachts. Noel says they called him Duke and he was a class act to all of them. He even gave a yacht to the war effort. I think he got it back after the war, not sure. Noel was much later after the war. Lots of Hollywood people never served but supported the troops. And your point is?


Reply to SFC D


My point is in response to “Alas, many people who have never worn the uniform have made zillions wearing a uniform on the silver screen”. Does it really matter? It’s acting. You don’t actually have to do something to portray it on screen.


The Duke also hated riding horses.

comment image


It’s strange seeing The Duke on a Honda.
He should be on an Indian

USMC Steve

Check your history. Wayne tried to get in, and was refused for being too old, having too many kids, among other things.


Not Capt. Stabbin’ for some out there.


He was pretty decent in MASH. The movie was a bit better than the TV series, as well as more realistic.

I don’t care about his anti-war stance. He was Canadian and really I didn’t care what he thought. Actors may have opinions but they really are not relevant, especially if they’re from another country.


Thanks for all the good memories Donald.

RGR 4-78

Later Oddball.

Woof, woof, woof.


Just a note. Audie Murphy was born June 20th, 1925.


Katniss Everdeen…grins.

They’re called actors/actresses for a reason. Their screen persona is just that…an act.

Old tanker

FB has been inundated with the “news” that he died. Yup I watched the movies he did including when he had the role of Oddball the tank commander. AFAIAC big fat hairy deal.

In looking at his bio, he never served or did anything else besides be an actor. I can’t bring myself to give him any respect simply because he did make believe as a “Soldier”. IMO it simply does not count any more than folks playing volleyball makes them Naval Aviators.

I’m just not impressed with folks who only make a living as entertainers. I have far more respect for plumbers and carpenters than entertainers. At least they produce / maintain something of real benefit.

Last edited 1 month ago by Old tanker
Old tanker

This pretty much covers my opinion about entertainers and athletes.


TBH never liked the character “Oddball”, too much of an anachronism. In modern terms felt it would be like inserting a drag queen into “Glory”.
“Eye of the Needle”, “Puppet Masters”, even “Buffy” were better roles.