Kiefer Sutherland speaks out on missing mum’s last moments

Kiefer Sutherland’s actress mum Shirley Douglas died in April 2020, three days after her 86th birthday, following complications from pneumonia. Unfortunately, the 24 star was unable to get to Toronto in time to say one last goodbye, and missed her funeral too, but now the actor has opened up on how the experience has monumentally shifted his perspective on mortality as a whole.

The 56-year-old action star reflected on the poignant moment as the world was in the grips of the first lockdown, when coronavirus was still a relatively unknown enemy.

Speaking to Radio Times for their latest cover story, Kiefer explained that, like many stuck in different countries at the time, he “couldn’t get home” in time to say an in-person goodbye to his mother.

The tragic experience has changed the actor, as he also admits he’s having to be far more cautious in his stunt-heavy roles as age takes its toll.

Reflecting on his own mortality, Kiefer bleakly declared: “I don’t think there’s any possible way out of this – we are going to die, and I’m on the downward slope towards that.

“What I’ve actually ended up trying to do is take stock and (realise) how grateful I am about the life that I’ve had, that my children and my grandchildren are fine.

“If something were to happen, of course I would have liked to live longer, but I have to believe that on my last breath there will be a smile.”

The actor noted that he hopes for gleeful last moments in order to “show some respect” for the incredible life he has lived.

The actor originally got his start on-screen at the ripe age of 20 in the hit 1986 film Stand By Me alongside a teenage River Phoenix.

Just seven years later, River tragically died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 and Kiefer can still remember getting the fateful news.

The Designated Survivor star laments the untapped potential that died with River, saying he “had so much promise”.

However, he also opened up on the sad truth that River isn’t the only famous pal he’s lost over the years.

Keifer continued: “I have lost friends over the years.

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“I am very mournful about some of the losses, and just that sense of ‘what a waste’, that this person could have been incredible.”

The Lost Boys star credits his daughter with his longevity as he became a father at the age of 21.

He claims that having little Sarah to care for while being a rising star in Hollywood helped keep him away from things that “could have been very damaging”.

Kiefer married actress Camelia Kath, 69, in 1987, becoming a step-father to Camelia’s then 11-year-old daughter Michelle.

When the pair welcomed Sarah in 1988, Kiefer gushed over his experience of fatherhood to the Los Angeles Times saying: “I’ve done stupid things just in trying to keep Sarah from crying.

“This is Camelia’s second child and my first time dealing with an infant. I had so many expectations built up in my mind.

“The first week was so different from what I envisioned, I was in shock. She was like a potato.”

Sarah soon became the third generation of Sutherland to enter the acting industry, starring in the sitcom Veep for several years.

The latest issue of Radio Times is available to purchase now.

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