Culture

Sitcom Actor Beloved By Millions Dies

Donnelly Rhodes, a Canadian-born character actor, mainly remembered for his roles in the parody sitcom, "Soap," where he played escaped convict and hapless con Dutch Leitner, as well as Doc Sherman Cottle, a brusque doctor on the most recent reboot of "Battlestar Galactica," died on Monday, Jan. 8, at a hospital facility near his home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. He was 80 years old. According to a statement from the Northern Exposure Talent Agency, he died after a battle with cancer at the Baillie House Hospice.

Donnelly Rhodes was born on Dec. 4, 1937, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He started off with trying his hand at theater while he was still in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He joined the Stratford Festival in 1937 after studying in Manitoba Theatre Centre and also The National Theatre School. There, he played the role of Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

The television career of Rhodes began with his roles in "Maverick" and "Bonanza" in the early 1960s, and lasted until 2016. Over the decades, Rhodes has been spotted in almost all the genres of television, from soap operas to sitcoms.

He also played an important part in daytime soap "The Young and the Restless" in the mid 1970s, which prepared him to actively make the most of the plot twists and surprises in the soap opera spoof, "Soap," one of Rhodes' most appreciated works.

After "Soap" got canceled in 1981, Rhodes landed an opportunity to play the role of Dr. Sherman Cottle on the update of the Sci-fi series, "Battlestar Galactica."

Apart from these, Rhodes has also played various major roles on Canadian television. His roles included shows like "Danger Bay" where he played a marine veterinarian, and "Da Vinci's Inquest" where he played a detective. Although he had solid acting skills, Donnelly never became a household name. "I am not sure that I would really like my privacy to be completely gone, or to have to be working that hard all the time at something," he said in an interview in 1989.

He also landed a couple of roles in movies, where his most notable work can be seen in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which hit the theaters in 1969. In the movie, he threatens the Sundance Kid, played by Robert Redford, while Butch Cassidy, played by Paul Newman, calms the situation.

Donnelly Rhodes can be seen as a recurring character on the CBS Drama "Street Legal" and also on the famous "Battlestar Galactica" from 2004 to 2009.  Ronald Moore, the writer and producer of "Battlestar Galactica," through his Twitter account, expressed great sadness on Rhodes' death and wrote, "He was a lovely man and so I enjoyed writing for him. Admired his work ever since Soap. He will be missed." Tricia Helfer, a fellow actor on "Battlestar Galactica" added to the mourning by posting on Twitter: "Saddened to hear Donnelly Rhodes passing. Loved working with him on BSG. A lovely man who made a terrific Doc Cottle. RIP."

Rhodes' last television appearance was playing a federal agent on the widely popular DC Comics series, "The Flash" and "Legends of Tomorrow."

Sources: The Hollywood ReporterThe New York Times

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