Donald Sutherland Remembered for His 'Supreme Excellence' by Helen Mirren, Ron Howard and More

Helen Mirren tells PEOPLE in a statement that Donald Sutherland was "one of the smartest actors I ever worked with"

<p>Getty(3)</p> Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland and Ron Howard


Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland and Ron Howard

Donald Sutherland's costars, collaborators and friends are mourning the acclaimed actor after news broke of his death at 88.

Helen Mirren and Ron Howard were among the first to pay tribute to the late actor's life and legacy.

“Donald Sutherland was one of the smartest actors I ever worked with," Mirren, 78, said in a statement shared with PEOPLE on June 20, shortly after Sutherland's agent at CAA, Missy Davy, confirmed news of his death with PEOPLE. "He had a wonderful enquiring brain, and a great knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. He combined this great intelligence with a deep sensitivity, and with a seriousness about his profession as an actor."

"This all made him into the legend of film that he became," she added in her statement. "He was my colleague and became my friend. I will miss his presence in this world.”

Howard, 70, wrote on X that he was "blessed to direct" Sutherland in the 1991 movie Backdraft as he shared an article related to the actor's death.

Related: Kiefer Sutherland Mourns His Dad Donald Sutherland: 'He Loved What He Did and Did What He Loved'

<p>Bob Riha Jr./Getty</p> Donald Sutherland on Sept. 10, 1995

Bob Riha Jr./Getty

Donald Sutherland on Sept. 10, 1995

"One of the most intelligent, interesting & engrossing film actors of all time," Howard wrote in his post. "Incredible range, creative courage & dedication to serving the story & the audience with supreme excellence."

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Timothy Hutton, who worked with Sutherland in the 1980 movie Ordinary People, told PEOPLE in a statement that he is "very sad to hear of Donald's passing." "He was incredibly kind and thoughtful to me when we worked together, and I will never forget his grace, his humor, and his absolute love of life," Hutton said. "He will be greatly missed by many.”

The actor's Dirty Sexy Money costar Natalie Zea described Sutherland as "a mentor, a father figure and a legend who, despite all that, was somehow always able to make me feel like I was his equal" during their time working together on the ABC drama.

Related: Remembering Donald Sutherland's Life in Photos, from Hawkeye to The Hunger Games

Arnold Jerocki/Getty Donald Sutherland on Oct. 12, 2019
Arnold Jerocki/Getty Donald Sutherland on Oct. 12, 2019

"His wicked sense of humor and deeply generous spirit is unmatched and precious to those who loved him," Zea said in a statement.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright described Sutherland's 1973 movie Don't Look Now and 1978's Invasion of the Bodysnatchers as "two of my very favorite and most influential films" in a post shared to X.

"But that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his legendary filmography; a funny, laconic, but also intense and dramatic presence in so many memorable movies, starting with his break-through in The Dirty Dozen, and then on an incredible run in the 70’s, 80’s and beyond," Wright, 50, wrote.

Sutherland maintained a high level of visibility throughout the 2010s with his role as the villain President Snow in The Hunger Games movies; Tom Blyth, who played a young version of the character in the 2023 prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, wrote in a tribute shared to Instagram that Sutherland "came about as close to mastering the craft of acting as anyone gets."

"So many genius performances. I never had the honor of knowing him personally, but it was the honor of a lifetime to follow in his footsteps," Blythe wrote. "Thank you sir for birthing one of the great movie characters of all time."

Sutherland is survived by five children, including his son Kiefer, as well as five grandchildren. He died in Miami after a long illness, his agent Davy said.

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