Donald Sutherland is a damn fine actor—one of the greatest. He’s also got a damn fine head of hair.
You know, it’s hard to think of any other actor who makes his hair work as hard as Sutherland does in every single performance.
Just think back to his neat blonde-haired vampire-killer in Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors or hippie Sgt. Oddball in Kelly’s Heroes and his scary perm in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or that bad Santa look he sported in Hunger Games—Donald Sutherland is a man and a hairstyle with no equal.
Now I’ve been a big fan of Mr. Sutherland since way, way back whenever. But I truly became an admirer of Sutherland and his hair after I watched him at an awards ceremony on TV when I was but a short, back and sides sometime in the 1970s. Sutherland was announcing an award for something or other and when he made his way up to the stage he revealed he was favoring one of the weirdest hairstyles ever. From the back it looked like Sutherland had one of his usual long-haired hippie coiffures. But from the front, his head was shaved back to the bone and almost halfway up his scalp thus creating a bizarre and utterly huge forehead. Sutherland responded to the audience’s shocked gasps by explaining he was about to appear in Fellini’s Casanova and added:
When Fellini says get a haircut, you get a haircut.
Over the years Sutherland has certainly had quite a few weird and wonderful haircuts—each in its own way helping the great and talented actor deliver unforgettable star performances and many a film-stealing turn in supporting roles. Now in his eighties, I can think of no other actors (save for maybe Eraserhead‘s Jack Nance) whose hair has given as powerful or as iconic a contribution to movie history. If you don’t believe me, well, just take a look at some of these….
Now, I know, I know some of you will say but what about this movie or what about that film…but the truth is Donald Sutherland has given so many great performances, made so many superb films, that there are too many to choose from. So, this is not by any means a complete list but more a tribute to the man and his hair.
It begins likes this: Sutherland in ‘Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors’ (1965) looking like the kind of headshot you might find in a stylish barber’s window.
Counterculture—it’s all about the hair. Sutherland by Lawrence Schiller, 1968
‘Kelly’s Heroes’ (1970).
A revolutionary Sutherland in ‘Alex in Wonderland’ (1970).
How cool is this do?
A scene-stealing performance in ‘Little Murders’ (1971).
Sutherland back to basics in ‘Klute’ (1971)—probably the coolest haircut of the seventies.
Just check those razor cut sideburns.
Growing it in for ‘Don’t Look Now’ (1973).
‘Casanova’ (1976): And then Fellini said ‘Get a haircut.’
Sutherland’s hair growing back during the filming of ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ (1976).
Traditional as the disenchanted hitman in ‘The Disappearance’ (1977).
Foppish in ‘Animal House’ (1978).
This guy can even get away with a perm—‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ (1978).
Playing against type as a sadistic prison governor in ‘Lock-Up’ (1989).
Another villain in ‘Outbreak’ (1995).
‘Pride and Prejudice’ (2005).
Mirror, mirror, on the wall…Sutherland in his seventieth year in ‘An American Haunting’ (2005).
‘Pillars of the Earth’ (2010).
Looking like a refined and elegant gentleman in hit TV series ‘Crossing Lines’ (2013).
‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ (2014).