Hari Rhodes

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Hari Rhodes
Born(1932-04-10)April 10, 1932
DiedJanuary 15, 1992(1992-01-15) (aged 59)
Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesHarry Rhodes
Years active1957–1992

Hari Rhodes (April 10, 1932 – January 15, 1992) was an American author and actor whose career spanned three decades beginning around 1960.

He was sometimes billed as Harry Rhodes, and appeared in 66 films and television programs, such as ABC's 1963 TV medical drama series about psychiatry Breaking Point.

Early life[edit]

In a 1968 TV Guide interview, Rhodes described growing up in a rough section of his native Cincinnati: "We lived between the railroad tracks and the river bank. The flood ran us out every winter, but we'd always come back, kick out the mud and settle down again until flood time. All the boys had to learn how to hop freights and throw pieces of coal off. All I ever knew was rats, roaches, and poverty."

When he was 15, Rhodes spent two months learning to copy his mother's signature, and forged it on enlistment papers to join the U.S. Marine Corps.

In the Marines, Rhodes was a member of his camp's judo team for two years. He eventually gained the rank of sergeant and served in Korea, where he led a reconnaissance platoon behind enemy lines.

"The time I got wounded at the Chosan Reservoir, a Chinese came running toward me," Rhodes told TV Guide. "My Thompson submachine gun was unloaded. I threw it down so he wouldn't shoot. His face almost smiled. He had his bayonet on my chest. He began slashing my arms. I got him with an 8-inch knife."

In 1965, he published a novel based on his experiences in the Marine Corps at the last black Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Montford Point called A Chosen Few.

Acting career[edit]

In 1960, Rhodes appeared in five television series: General Electric Theater, hosted by Ronald Reagan; The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor, Have Gun, Will Travel, starring Richard Boone, The Westerner, starring Brian Keith; and in two episodes of Adventures in Paradise, starring Gardner McKay. In 1961, he was cast in an episode of ABC's Hawaii-based drama, Follow the Sun. In 1963, he played a patrolman in "Death of a Cop" on CBS's The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.[1]

From 1966–69, Rhodes was a regular on Daktari as Mike Makula. In 1969, he starred in the short-lived series The Bold Ones: The Protectors. His most notable television role came in 1977 in the ABC miniseries, Roots, in which he was cast as a leader of Kunta Kinte's village. He had a pioneering role as an African-American in science-fiction television. His portrayal of one Lt. Ernie Travers, member of a lunar exploration team in the "Moonstone" episode of The Outer Limits (1964), antedated Nichelle Nichols' portrayal of a black member (Lt. Uhura) of a space exploration crew on Star Trek. In 1985, he appeared as character Mr. Wang in Magnum P.I. in the episode titled "Old Acquaintance".

His early film roles included appearances in The Nun and the Sergeant (1962), Drums of Africa (1963), Shock Corridor (1963), The Satan Bug (1965), and Mirage (1965). In 1966, he played a supporting role as Captain Davis in the successful suspense-comedy motion picture Blindfold, starring Rock Hudson and Claudia Cardinale. He also played Mr. MacDonald, who aids Caesar in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and was the star of the blaxploitation film Detroit 9000 (1973). His later film credits included Mayday at 40,000 Feet! (1976), The Hostage Heart (1977), Coma (1978), and the Burt Reynolds cop thriller Sharky's Machine (1981).

Acting and racism's effect on his writing[edit]

Rhodes' first television role was in a 1957 episode of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater that starred Sammy Davis Jr. The role came just one year after Rhodes had received a rude lesson in racial prejudice.

"I read about a training program a major studio had for grooming people for 'stardom.' Being naïve about the system, I got on the phone and called the man in charge and asked if he would interview me, and he told me to come around to the studio," Rhodes told TV Guide in 1968. "I said, 'By the way, I think I should tell you that I am a Negro.' He said, 'Don't waste your time – we don't take Negroes in this program.' I hung up the phone. Almost tore the cradle off the thing."

Rhodes channeled his anger into a novel, A Chosen Few, which was published in a paperback edition. A Chosen Few was described as "an explosive personal portrait of what (Rhodes) saw and lived through in the heart of the American South in the last all-Negro Marine boot camp." The novel's uneducated hero remarks, "Bitterness ... is a consuming, cancerous quality out of which comes nothing but self-destruction, while out of an anger can come many constructive things, if nothing more than the drive to get something done."

Rhodes later penned two unpublished novels: Harambee, about a man with a plan to liquidate the world's entire Caucasian population, and Land of Odds, about Hollywood.

Rhodes told TV Guide that writing served as his safety valve. "I'd rather be writing my own than reading somebody else's. I have no need for it." Rhodes said.


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Burden of Truth Joe Hamilton
1958 The Lost Missile Black Man At Piano
1960 This Rebel Breed Claude
1961 The Fiercest Heart Hendrik
1961 Return to Peyton Place Arthur Uncredited
1962 The Nun and the Sergeant Hall
1963 Drums of Africa Kasongo
1963 Shock Corridor Trent
1965 The Satan Bug Lieutenant Johnson
1965 Taffy and the Jungle Hunter Kahli
1965 Mirage Lieutenant Franken
1966 Blindfold Captain Davis
1972 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Malcolm MacDonald
1973 Detroit 9000 Sergeant Jesse Williams
1978 Coma Dr. Morelind
1981 Sharky's Machine "Highball Mary"
Year Title Role Notes
1959 Zane Grey Theater Troop Andrew Mission – Season 4 Episode 7
1960 General Electric Theater Jinks The Patsy – Season 8 Episode 21
1960 The Detectives Tempus Longshot – Season 2 Episode 2
1960 Adventures in Paradise Ombomb / Timi The Death-Divers – Season 1 Episode 28,

Open for Diving – Season 2 Episode 1

1960 Have Gun – Will Travel Ansel James The Shooting of Jessie May – Season 4 Episode 8
1960 The Westerner Jones Line Camp – Season 1 Episode 10
1961 King of Diamonds Otis Movito Alias Willie Hogan – Season 1 Episode 5
1961 Follow the Sun M'Boto The Hunters – Season 1 Episode 9
1963 Wide Country Chuck Crowley The Man Who Ran Away – Season 1 Episode 19
1963 My Three Sons Guard The Clunky Kid – Season 3 Episode 22
1963 The Eleventh Hour Charley A Medicine Man in This Day and Age – Season 1 Episode 29
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Patrolman Death of a Cop – Season 1 Episode 32
1963 The Fugitive Dan Digby Decision in the Ring – Season 1 Episode 6
1963 Breaking Point Detective Shaw Whatsoever Things I hear – Season 1 Episode 10
1964 Channing Cicero Another Kind of Music – Season 1 Episode 17
1964 Arrest and Trial Detective Victor Hammerlund People in Glass Houses – Season 1 Episode 20
1964 The Outer Limits Lieutenant Ernie Travers Moonstone – Season 1 Episode 24
1964 Wagon Train Jefferson Washington Freeman The Stark Bluff Story – Season 7 Episode 29
1964 Rawhide Corporal Dunbar Incident at Seven Fingers – Season 6 Episode 30
1964 Peyton Place Mr. Massey, Prison Parole Officer Season 1 Episode 30
1962–1965 Ben Casey Gunner Garrison To a Grand and Natural Finale – Season 1 Episode 23

For Jimmy, the Best of Everything – Season 4 Episode 6 Because of the Needle, the Haystack Was Lost – Season 5 Episode 5

1966 I Spy Scott #2 Will the Real Good Guys Please Stand Up? – Season 2 Episode 8
1966–1969 Daktari Mike Makula / Mike
1970 The Name of the Game Captain Adzuwe The Skin Game – Season 2 Episode 21
1969–1970 The Bold Ones: The Protectors District Attorney William Washburn / Leslie Washburn
1970 Mannix Minji Obuko The World Between – Season 4 Episode 8
1971 Mission: Impossible George Corley Cat's Paw – Season 5 Episode 15
1971 Earth II Dr. Loren Huxley TV Movie
1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Rouchinet Operation: White Fire – Season 1 Episode 17
1973 Trouble Comes to Town Horace Speare TV Movie
1970–1973 The F.B.I Ginger Dodds / Ormond The Deadly Pact – Season 6 Episode 8

Fatal Reunion – Season 9 Episode 7

1973 A Dream for Christmas Reverend Will Douglas TV Movie
1974 To Sir, with Love Paul Cameron TV Movie
1974 Born Free Dr. Alan Kamante Elephant Trouble – Season 1, 2
1974 Police Surgeon Gret Jarrett Episode name: The Militant
1974 The Six Million Dollar Man Karl The Peeping Blonde – Season 2 Episode 11
1975 Cop on the Beat Dr. Belding TV Movie, Uncredited
1975 Matt Helm Seki Matt Helm – Season 1 Episode 0
1975–1976 Cannon Mayor Jesse Satterfield / Lieutenant Dexter The Investigator – Season 4 Episode 20,

Revenge – Season 5 Episode 18 / Snapshot – Season 5 Episode 21

1972–1976 The Streets of San Francisco Floyd Marsden / Karpa / Harry Gates / Charlie Johnson
1976 Mayday at 40,000 Feet! Belson TV Movie
1977 Roots Brima Cesay Season 1 Episode 1
1976–1977 Most Wanted Mayor Dan Stoddard
1977 The Hostage Heart Don Harris TV Movie - credited as Harry Rhodes
1977 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries Lieutenant Astor Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom, Part II – Season 2 Episode 5
1977 Charlie's Angels Ben Brody Sam Davis, Jr. Kidnap Caper – Season 2 Episode 12
1978 A Woman Called Moses Tavwell Robinson Season 1 Episode 1, Episode 2
1978 The Bionic Woman Chief Inspector Ball The Antidote – Season 3 Episode 14
1978 Logan's Run Samuel Turnabout – Season 1 Episode 13
1978 CHiPs Father Crack-Up – Season 1 Episode 21
1973–1978 Police Story Sonny DuPrix / L.C. Madden / Borden Gampu / Otis Spencer
1976–1978 Quincy M.E. Deputy Mayor Collins / Dr. Phil Moran Go Fight City Hall... to the Death – Season 1 Episode 1

Death by Good Intentions – Season 4 Episode 4

1979 Wonder Woman Sheldon Como Going, Going, Gone – Season 3 Episode 13
1979 Backstairs at the White House Coates, The Butler
1979 Salvage 1 Pierre Operation Breakout – Season 1 Episode 8
1979 The Runaways Hackett Wrong Way Street – Season 2 Episode 2
1979 The White Shadow Harmon Reese The Cross-Town Hustle – Season 2 Episode 3
1980 Beyond Westworld Commander Riley Take-Over – Season 1 Episode 5
1981 Judgment Day Joseph Pierson TV Movie
1983 The Powers of Matthew Star Keating Swords and Quests – Season 1 Episode 21
,1984 Automan Rollie Dumont Flashes and Ashes – Season 1 Episode 6
1984 Dynasty Detective Taylor The Voice: Part 3 – Season4 Episode 22,

The Engagement – Season 4 Episode 25

1984 Cover Up Jourdan The Million Dollar Face – Season 1 Episode 2
1985 The Fall Guy Dr. Hubbard Rockabye Baby – Season 4 Episode 19
1985 Magnum, P.I. Prison Guard / Mr. Wanda A Pretty Good Dancing Chicken – Season 5 Episode 22,

Old Acquaintance – Season 6 Episode 2

1990 L.A. Law Federal Judge Emmanuel The Last Gasp – Season 4 Episode 22
1990 Donor Harry TV Movie
1992 Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story Unknown TV Movie, (final film role)


Hari Rhodes died of a heart attack in January 1992, a few months before the premiere of his final project, the made-for-TV feature Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story.


  • A Chosen Few. Bantam Books, 1965.
  • The Hollow and the Human. Vantage, 1976

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hari Rhodes, imdb.com

Further reading[edit]

  • Hobson, Dick. (1968, April 20–26). "On Maneuvers With Hari Rhodes". TV Guide, p. 18–19.

External links[edit]