Shirley Douglas, Actress and Mother of Kiefer Sutherland, Dies at 86

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Shirley Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland

The Gemini Award winner appeared in 'Lolita' for Stanley Kubrick and 'Dead Ringers' for David Cronenberg.

Shirley Douglas, an actress in films directed by Stanley Kubrick and David Cronenberg and the mother of actor Kiefer Sutherland, died Sunday. She was 86.

Sutherland announced his mother's death on Twitter, saying she died of complications surrounding pneumonia. He noted her passing was not related to COVID-19. 

"My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life," Sutherland wrote. "Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming. To any families who have lost loved ones unexpectedly to the coronavirus, my heart breaks for you. Please stay safe."

Douglas, whose birthday was Thursday, was married to actor Donald Sutherland from 1966 until their 1971 divorce, and they had twins, Kiefer and Rachel. Her father was former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, the founder of Canada's Medicare.

A longtime Toronto resident, Douglas appeared in Kubrick's Lolita (1962) and Cronenberg's Dead Ringers (1988) and in other movies including Shadow Dancing (1988) and Wind at My Back (1996). She won a Gemini Award for her performance in the 1999 telefilm Shadow Lake.

Douglas attended the Banff School of Fine Arts and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before beginning her professional career in the early 1950s.

An Officer of the Order of Canada, she also was an activist who fought against the Vietnam War and for civil rights, public health care and nuclear disarmament.

Survivors also include another son, Thomas, and a granddaughter, Veep actress Sarah Sutherland.