Shirley Douglas, Canadian Actor and Activist, Dies of Pneumonia at 86

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Shirley Douglas, a Canadian actor and activist, died on Sunday of complications from pneumonia. She was 86.

Her son, actor Kiefer Sutherland, announced the sad news of her death on Twitter and specified that it was unrelated to coronavirus.

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“Early this morning my mother, Shirley Douglas, passed away due to complications surrounding pneumonia (not related to COVID-19). 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. To any families who have lost loved ones unexpectedly to the coronavirus, my heart breaks for you. Please stay safe,” he wrote.

Douglas graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London in 1952 and performed on stage and TV for several years before returning to Canada in 1957. She appeared in projects like “Wind at My Back,” “The Stone Angel” and narrated the children’s program “Franklin.”

In 1997, she appeared on stage with Sutherland in “The Glass Menagerie” at the National Arts Centre’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.

She was the daughter of Tommy Douglas, the premier of Saskatchewan and the first leader of Canada’s new Democratic Party. Throughout her life, she championed the civil rights movement, the Black Panther party and Canada’s public health care. In 2003, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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