Veteran actress and activist Shirley Douglas, 86, died Sunday due to complications surrounding pneumonia.
Her son, Kiefer Sutherland announced her death via Twitter, and clarified that her death is not related to COVID-19.
“My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life,” he posted. “Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming.”
A native or Weyburn, Saskatchewan and a longtime resident of Toronto, she tirelessly supported a variety of causes throughout her life, which includes the civil rights movement, the Black Panthers and the fight to save Canada’s public health care.
As an actress, Douglas worked with directors including Stanley Kubrick for “Lolita”, and David Cronenberg for “Dead Ringers.”
She won a Gemini Award for her performance in “Shadow Lake”, a 1999 TV film, and was nominated for two other Canadian arts Geminis: in 1998 for “Wind at My Back” and in 1993 for “Passage of the Heart.”
Douglas married actor Donald Sutherland in 1965, with whom she had twins – Kiefer and Rachel before they divorced in 1971.
She had another son, Thomas, from a previous marriage to Canadian prairie brewery heir Timothy Emil Sicks.
Douglas showed an early interest in the arts and politics – as she is the daughter of the Tommy Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan, a national leader in the New Democratic Party and founder of Canada’s Medicare.
She attended the Banff School of Fine Arts and then at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England, as well as participated in anti-nuclear marches.
While living in California in the 60’s and 70’s, she campaigned against the Vietnam War and protested several other various causes.
A long-time Toronto resident, she was also an Officer of the Order of Canada and an inductee into Canada’s Walk of Fame.