Shirley Douglas

Shirley Jean Douglas (April 2, 1934 – April 5, 2020) was a Canadian actress and activist. Her acting career combined with her family name made her recognizable in Canadian film, television and national politics. Douglas was born April 2, 1934, in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Irma May (née Dempsey; 1911–95) and Tommy Douglas (1904–86), the late Scottish-born Canadian statesman, Premier of Saskatchewan and the first leader of the federal New Democratic Party. She attended high school at Central Collegiate Institute (now closed) in Regina. Douglas attended the Banff School of Fine Arts at the age of 16. Douglas's acting career began in 1950 with a role in the Regina Little Theatre entry at the Dominion Drama Festival, where she won the best actress award. In 1952 Shirley graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and stayed in England for several years, performing for theatre and television, before returning to Canada in 1957. She continued to act; and her career encompassed several memorable roles on stages in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. She portrayed prominent feminist Nellie McClung, family matriarch and business woman May Bailey in the television series Wind at My Back, Hagar Shipley in Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel, and even characters in popular science fiction series like The Silver Surfer and Flash Gordon. In 1997, Douglas appeared on stage with her son Kiefer Sutherland at the Royal Alexandra Theatre and at the National Arts Centre in The Glass Menagerie. In 2000, she performed on stage in The Vagina Monologues. In 2006, she portrayed former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in the ABC mini-series The Path to 9/11. In 2003, for her contributions to the performing arts, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Douglas was the mother of three children: Thomas Emil Sicks from her marriage to Canadian prairie brewery heir Timothy Emil Sicks in 1957, and twins Rachel Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland from her second marriage to Canadian actor Donald Sutherland (1966–70).
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