Memorable Manitobans: Donnelly Rhodes (1936-2018)
Born Donnelly Rhodes Henry at Winnipeg on 4 December 1937, son of journalist Ann Donnelly Henry and brother of actor Tim Henry and Loa Henry, while an airman mechanic with the Royal Canadian Air Force, in 1956 he joined the RCAF Station Winnipeg Drama Group and decided to pursue a career in theatre. The following year, he became stage manager with John Hirsch’s Theatre 77, a forerunner to the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. His first professional stage appearance was in the company’s March 1958 production of Death of a Salesman. He was also stage manager of Rainbow Stage in the summers of 1959 and 1960. At Hirsch’s urging, he auditioned for the newly created National Theatre School of Canada and was the only Manitoban accepted in its inaugural year.
After appearances on the Stratford stage and in a number of CBC television dramas, he signed a contract with Universal Studios. His film debut was Gunfight in Abilene (1967) followed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). His greatest success was as a character actor on television. His numerous recurring roles included: The Young and the Restless (CBS, 1974-1975), Sidestreet (CBC, 1975-1978), Soap (ABC, 1978-1981), Danger Bay (CBC, 1985-1990), DaVinci’s Inquest (CBC, 1998-2005), and Battlestar Galactica (NBC Universal, 2004-2009). He received a Gemini Award for best actor for his role in Da Vinci’s Inquest (2002) and received the Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement (2006). He was married four times.
He died of cancer at Maple Ridge, British Columbia on 8 January 2018, survived by his wife, brother, sister, two children, and three stepchildren.
“Canadian TV actor Donnelly Rhodes dies at age 80,” CBC News, 8 January 2018.
“Actor loved family, never forgot where he came from,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 January 2018.
Donnelly Rhodes, IMDB.
This page was prepared by Christian Cassidy.
Page revised: 1 February 2020
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