Many entertainers strive to find that one movie or TV role that turns them into a household name, and Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes managed to lock down several of them, with his portrayal of Battlestar Galactica's Chief Medical Officer Sherman Cottle as the definite standout. A television mainstay since the 1960s, Rhodes unfortunately passed away this week at the age of 80 years old.
Donnelly Rhodes died on Monday, January 8, 2018, having suffered from a battle with cancer, though no details were provided about how long he'd suffered from it. According to the Canadian Press, Rhodes' talent agency Northern Exposure first announced the sad news, saying the actor passed while in the Baillie House Hospice in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba back on December 4, 1937, Donnelly Rhodes made his acting intentions known early in life, having attended the Manitoba Theatre Centre, and he graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1963 as part of the first graduating class. That was after he'd already booked his first TV appearances as part of the classic western drama Bonanza. Through the rest of the 1960s, Rhodes took bit parts in quite a few TV and film westerns, from Laredo to Wagon Train to The Virginian to _Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. _
Things took off for Donnelly Rhodes' career in the 1970s, where appearances on Mission: Impossible and The Young and the Restless were followed by his first marquee role as the escaped convict Dutch Leitner on the classic parody sitcom Soap. It was a role he took on for all four seasons of the show, which wrapped up in 1981. Things got a little quieter for him during the 1980s and early 1990s, though he showed up for bit roles on popular shows such as Cheers, Empty Nest, Murder She Wrote and The X-Files, among others. He then landed another memorable gig in 1998 as Detective Leo Shannon on the crime drama Da Vinci's Inquest.
Then in 2004, a year before Da Vinci's Inquest ended, Donnelly Rhodes was hired for what is arguably his most iconic role, especially for genre fans. The actor got the part of the gruff but ethically motivated Dr. Sherman Cottle on Battlestar Galactica, and though he wasn't one of the biggest stars of the reimagined sci-fi classic, Doc Cottle is still one of the more celebrated recurring characters, thanks in part to his ethics, and he also managed to survive until the end of the series.
Rhodes' former Battlestar Galactica cast and crew friends, as well as former colleagues from many other projects over the years, reached out on social media to remark on the actor's decades of great work in the industry. Here's one from Katee Sackhoff, who interestingly enough recently joined The CW's Arrow-verse, which is where Rhodes' last TV role came. (He played Agent Smith in the "Invasion!" episode from Legends of Tomorrow.)
And then here's one from the Battlestar Galactica reboot's mastermind Ronald D. Moore.
CinemaBlend sends our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Donnelly Rhodes in their time of mourning. We'll be missing you, Doc.