Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Donnelly Rhodes joined the RCAF Station Winnipeg as an airman-mechanic where he was talked into joining the newly established drama group. Leaving the military, he trained at The National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, performing on stage and gradually building his reputation until Hollywood took notice. His first work was the lead in a 1964 episode of NBC's Alfred Hitchcock Presents called Ten Minutes from Now. Living in Vancouver, he found some of his greatest success, appearing in numerous U.S. and Canadian productions shot there, such as Battlestar Galactica, The X-Files, The Romeo Section and DaVinci's Inquest. For nearly sixty years he was a fixture on television screens on both sides of the border.
Donnelly Rhodes died of cancer at the age of 80.