(written from a Production point of view)
Symonds was born in Bristow, Oklahoma in 1926. While serving in the US Army during World War II, he was stationed in Seattle, where he participated in local theatrical productions. In the 1950s and '60s, he was a member of the San Francisco Actors' Studio. He was the associate director of the Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center for eight years, from 1965 through 1972, and performed with the company in numerous productions, including The Caucasian Chalk Circle (with Brock Peters), Cyrano de Bergerac (playing the title role, opposite Leon Russom), A Cry of Players (with Rene Auberjonois and Frank Langella), Mary Stuart (starring Salome Jens in the title role), William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (again co-starring with Rene Auberjonois as well as Stephen McHattie), and The Crucible (with Robert Foxworth). He also co-directed Lee Bergere and Richard Kiley in a 1972 production of Man of La Mancha.
He made the transition to the screen in 1973, playing Dr. Taney in the acclaimed 1973 horror thriller The Exorcist. After a number of television roles, he made his second feature film appearance with the likes of David Clennon, Ronny Cox, Rosemary Forsyth, Robert Ito, and Stephen McHattie in 1978's Gray Lady Down (co-starring Stephen McHattie and Ronny Cox). This was followed by a supporting role as a judge in Norman Jewison's 1979 Academy Award-nominated drama …And Justice for All (also featuring Keith Andes and J.G. Hertzler). His subsequent film credits include 1984's The Ice Pirates (with Ian Abercrombie, Mary Crosby, and Ron Perlman; cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti) and Micki + Maude (starring Wallace Shawn), 1989's C.H.U.D. II – Bud the Chud (with Larry Cedar, Gerrit Graham, and Clive Revill), 1998's Primary Colors (with Robert Easton), 1999's Inferno (with Larry Drake, Bill Erwin, Jeff Kober, and Vincent Schiavelli), and 2002's Catch Me If You Can (co-starring Robert Curtis Brown, Thomas Kopache, Jimmie F. Skaggs, and Malachi Throne).
Symonds appeared with David Ogden Stiers in two episodes of the television series M*A*S*H, in which Symonds played Colonel Horace Baldwin, who banished Stiers' character, Major Winchester, to the 4077th. Symonds also appeared on Quantum Leap with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. Other television shows he appeared on besides Deep Space Nine include The Rockford Files (with Vince Howard), Charlie's Angels, Quincy M.E. (with Jon Lormer), Benson (starring Rene Auberjonois and Ethan Phillips), Cheers, Beauty and the Beast (starring Ron Perlman), ER (with Holmes Osborne), and J.J. Abrams' Alias. In addition, he had a recurring role as Dr. Jonas Edwards on the primetime soap opera Dynasty and earned acclaim for his performances in the mini-series The Adams Chronicles (with Richard Cox) and The Blue and the Gray (co-starring Stephen Collins, Robin Gammell, Gregg Henry, William Lucking, Charles Napier, Duncan Regehr, Dan Shor, Noble Willingham, and Paul Winfield).