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Shirley Douglas, actress and mother to Kiefer Sutherland, has died aged 86


Shirley Douglas, the television, film and stage actress and activist, has died at the age of 86.

Actor Kiefer Sutherland, the son of Douglas, confirmed the news with a post on social media by explaining his mother had passed away from pneumonia. “Early this morning, my mother, Shirley Douglas, passed away due to complications surrounding pneumonia,” Sutherland writes.

He added: “My mother was an extraordinary woman who led an extraordinary life. Sadly she had been battling for her health for quite some time and we, as a family, knew this day was coming.”

Douglas, who recently celebrated her 86th birthday, was born 1934, in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and began her career in 1950 with a role in the Regina Little Theatre entry at the Dominion Drama Festival—a performance that instantly propelled her to success as she won the best actress award.

Two years later, after graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London Douglas was ready to make longterm career plans. After appearing in a number of television and theatre roles and, in 1962, appeared as Mrs. Starch in Stanley Kubrick film Lolita. From there, Douglas worked with the likes of David Cronenberg, a number of Marvel producers and more before focusing predominantly on activism.

After initially becoming involved with American Civil Rights Movement and the campaign against the Vietnam War, Douglas passionately triumphed the right of women and immigrants. Later in her life, Douglas co-founded the first chapter in Canada of the Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament.