Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Donnelly Rhodes trained to be a warden in the National Park Service in Manitoba and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as an airman-mechanic before finally settling into his long and successful career as an actor. Rhodes studied at the Manitoba Theatre Center and was a member of the first graduating class of the National Theatre School in Canada. After making his professional debut on stage as Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar Named Desire, he became a contract player for Universal Pictures in the U.S., landing film and television roles ranging from a gunslinger in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) to a country singer in The Hard Part Begins (1973) to various guest appearances in series such as "Mission: Impossible" (1966). Later, he was popular as the suave Phillip Chancellor Sr. on "The Young and the Restless" (1973), but left the show in 1976 to avoid devoting too much of his career to the one role. He continued to work steadily, taking roles in a wide variety of television and theatrical movies and making guest appearances on more than 100 television series. Major TV roles saw him range from dim-witted escaped con Dutch on "Soap" (1977) to veterinarian and family man Dr. Grant Roberts on the popular Canadian family series "Danger Bay" (1984). More recently, he has appeared in a number of TV movies as well as in guest spots on popular series such as "Sliders" (1995) and "The X-Files" (1993). Rhodes' diverse interests include music and horses, but his real passion is boats. He has said that if he hadn't succeeded as an actor, he would have pursued a career as a naval architect.
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