Donnelly Rhodes, the Canadian actor known for playing the hapless escaped convict Dutch Leitner on Soap and the gruff medical officer “Doc” Cottle on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, died of cancer Monday at age 81, his talent agency confirmed to EW.
Born in Winnipeg, Rhodes served as an airman-mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force and began his acting career as a contract player, landing bit parts in such ’60s classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the original Mission: Impossible TV series.
Other TV credits included The Young and the Restless, Cheers, Murder She Wrote, The X-Files, and Smallville. In his native Canada, he was also known for his work on such series as Sidestreet, Danger Bay, and Da Vinci’s Inquest.
For all his professional success, Rhodes thought of himself as a “journeyman actor,” according to a 2009 interview with The Province of British Columbia. Of his approach to acting, he said, “The best actors are the best listeners. It’s about being helpful to other people, because as an actor you can’t act by yourself.”
In the wake of Rhodes’ death, colleagues and fans paid their respects on social media. Ronald D. Moore, creator of the Battlestar Galactica re-imagining, wrote, “Very sad. He was a lovely man and I so enjoyed writing for him. Admired his work ever since ‘Soap.’ He will be missed.”