Donald Sutherland Married Three Women, but Stayed With His Third Wife for Over 50 Years

The 'Dirty Dozen' actor was married to his third wife, Francine Racette, for 52 years before he died in June 2024.

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Jun. 20 2024, Published 2:38 p.m. ET

(l-r): Francine Racette and Donald Sutherland
Source: Getty Images

On June 20, 2024, many were floored to learn that Donald Sutherland died. The legendary actor's son, Kiefer Sutherland, announced his death via X, formerly Twitter. The actor was 88 and, as of this writing, his cause of death is unknown.

Since the 1960s, Donald starred in countless classic films, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People, and Hunger Games.

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His ability to create memorable roles is something that cemented his legacy as a movie star. However, Donald was a devoted husband and father when he wasn't working on a blockbuster or popular TV show. Although he found his forever person before he died, the actor took multiple shots at love during his life and career.

Here's what to know about Donald's wife and family.

(l-r): Donald's wife, Francine Racette and Donald Sutherland
Source: Getty Images
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Donald Sutherland married his third wife, Francine Racette, in 1972.

Donald had several relationships and marriages before he died. But in 1972, his union with his third wife, Francine Racette, proved to be his greatest and final love. Donald and Francine married in 1972. The two Canadian actors reportedly met on the set of Alien Thunder and hit it off from there. Francine is an actor and starred in films like Lumiere, Goodbye, Children, and The Disappearance.

Donald Sutherland's children
Source: Getty Images
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Donald Sutherland had five children.

Before Donald married Francine, the actor walked down the aisle two other times. According to Hollywood Life, his third wife is the mother of only three of his five children. In 1967, he welcomed his first children, twins Rachel and Kiefer Sutherland. As some might already know, Kiefer followed in his dad's iconic footsteps with an acting career that spans over 30 years.

Donald said in an interview with Scotland's The Daily Record that he wasn't "present" in Kiefer's life while he was growing up, per People. However, the two were reportedly close when he died, as Kiefer spoke highly of his father when he broke the news of his death.

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"With a heavy heart, I tell you that my father, Donald Sutherland, has passed away," Kiefer wrote. "I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film. Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived."

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After welcoming Kiefer and Rachel, Donald and Francine had three children of their own —Roeg, Rossif, and Angus. Like their dad and older brother, Roeg and Rossif pursued acting, and Roeg starred in Orphan: First Kill, in 2022.

Donald Sutherland's two ex-wives preceded him in death.

Donald's eldest children, Kiefer and Rachel, are now mourning both of their parents. The actor's second wife, Shirley Douglas, died of pneumonia complications in 2020. Like Donald, Shirley was an actor best known for her roles in Lolita, Dead Ringers, and Shadow Lake. Although their marriage didn't work out, they remained connected to have a better co-parenting relationship for their kids.

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(l-r): Shirley Sutherland and Donald Sutherland
Source: Getty Images

Before he met and married Shirley, Donald's first wife was Emmy-winning actor Lois Hardwick. Lois was known for starring in the Alice Comedies as a child in the 1920s, among other roles. The pair married in 1955 and shared an 18-year age difference. In 1966, they divorced after seven years of marriage. Sadly, Lois died two years later in 1968.

Rest in peace, Mr. Sutherland!

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