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Donald Sutherland & James Coburn: Casting Advice

In 1970, Donald Sutherland asked fellow actor James Coburn for some professional advice regarding a role he had been offered. "I had no money," he later recalled. "I showed him the script, and he looked at it and told me not to take the part -- that it would ruin my career." Fortunately Sutherland ignored the advice. The role in question? Hawkeye Pierce, in Robert Altman's M*A*S*H.

[The film turned Altman and Sutherland into instant stars. "A woman on the street yelled 'Donald!' and ran up and kissed me," Sutherland recalled of the fanfare. "I was surprised because I couldn't recognize her. I expected her to be someone I'd grown up with in Nova Scotia. It never dawned on me that complete strangers would know who I was."]

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