People Are Paying Their Respects To Donald Sutherland By Sharing This Beautiful Speech About His Life And Career

"There is so much to say about the peerless Donald Sutherland, but perhaps it’s best left for him to say it himself..."
Donald Sutherland accepting his honorary Oscar in 2017
Donald Sutherland accepting his honorary Oscar in 2017
AFP Contributor via Getty Images

Social media has been flooded with tributes to Donald Sutherland from his legion of fans, as well as his peers in the entertainment industry, following the news of his death at the age of 88.

And while many have been remembering some of his most memorable roles from his six decades as a screen actor, others are focussing on the man behind the characters.

One popular clip that has been doing the rounds since the news of the Canadian actor’s death was confirmed comes from a speech that he gave around seven years ago.

While Donald never received an Oscar in his lifetime (or even a nomination, despite his acclaimed body of work), the Academy did recognise him with an Honorary Award at the Governors Awards in 2017.

The Film Academy posted a poignant moment on X to pay tribute to Donald, in which he said he wished he could thank “all the characters that I’ve played” for “using their lives to inform mine”.

“I wish I could say thank you to all of the characters that I've played, thank them for using their lives to inform my life.”

Donald Sutherland accepting an Honorary Award at the 2017 Governors Awards.

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) June 20, 2024

His speech ended with a quote from Jack Benny, which said: “I don’t deserve this. But I have arthritis. And I don’t deserve that either.”

Many fans of Donald on X also took a moment to repost their favourite parts of the nine-minute speech, which fans are saying summed up his life and career perfectly:

There is so much to say about the peerless Donald Sutherland who passed away today, but perhaps it’s best left for him to say it himself :

— Michael H. Gavshon (@miquelhenry) June 20, 2024

Grateful Donald Sutherland received the Honorary Oscar in 2017. His speech captured his charm, humor and impeccable timing. RIP Mr Sutherland…

— Grace Young (@stirfrygrace) June 20, 2024

Donald Sutherland was so funny, here is a fragment of his speech when he received the Honorary Award in 2017. He recalls when he received the news...

— Patty Olvera ❤️🇺🇦 (@PattyOrion) June 20, 2024

Donald Sutherland's full speech when accepting 2017 Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) June 20, 2024

what a great thing to post! classy self mocking comedic gold ,to celebrate a great life !

— Nick Coogan (@nsmcoogan) June 20, 2024

RIP Donald Sutherland. My favourite speech of all time.

Donald Sutherland receives Honorary Award at 2017 Governors Awards via @YouTube

— David O'Neill (@davejone) June 20, 2024

Donald Sutherland's full, wonderful Honorary Academy Award speech. Well worth 9 minutes 19 seconds. Farewell, Mr Sutherland.

— Daniel McGachey (@DMcGachey) June 21, 2024

class act through and through. RIP 🙏🏾

— Arjun Narayan (@narayan_arjun) June 21, 2024


— Lori J. 😸🐾 (she/her) (@loribythesea) June 21, 2024

RIP to one of the best💔

— Mars (@marcella_lane12) June 20, 2024

“Is this Heaven?”

“Do you think a guy can get a burger up here?”

When I heard this Legend had passed I instantly thought of this beautiful scene from The Leisure Seeker, which really should have finally got him an Oscar nod.

So here’s a flashback of his well-earned reward!


— Sam O’Sullivan (@MrSamOSullivan) June 20, 2024

Such a profound loss to us all. 😔🇨🇦❤️

— Cindy Davey 🇨🇦 (@cindy_davey) June 21, 2024

What a wonderful speech.

— Joshua B. Porter (@joshuabporter) June 20, 2024

Awesome human who brought hope happiness and drama to us all in his great acting career RIP Donald Sutherland

— Markryder (@MarkRyder0) June 21, 2024

Donald’s career spanned more than 60 years, with his big screen debut arriving in 1963 with a small role in the British drama The World Ten Times Over.

He went on to appear in films like The Dirty Dozen and Joanna, before landing the lead role in the 1970 war movie M*A*S*H, which inspired the TV series of the same name.

Movie roles that followed included the comedy Kelly’s Heroes, the disturbing domestic thriller Don’t Look Now, Steelyard Blues and Animal House.

In his later years, the award-winning actor appeared in The Italian Job, Cold Mountain, Ad Astra and the Hunger Games series, in which he played President Coriolanus Snow.

Donald Sutherland pictured in 2019
Donald Sutherland pictured in 2019
Juan Naharro Gimenez via Getty Images

His work also extended to the small screen, earning an Emmy and Golden Globe for his performance in the TV movie Citizen X, as well as additional nominations for the series Dirty Sexy Money, The Undoing and Path To War. He also lent his voice to a memorable episode of The Simpsons, playing a historian who befriends Lisa.

Donald’s final film role, in the thriller Heart Land, is to be released posthumously.


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