Fred Rhoads studied art illustration in New York City from 1940-1942 until he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. Rhoads began working as a gag cartoonist, contributing to several papers and creating 'Gizmo and Eightball' in Leatherneck Magazine (1941-61). He assisted cartoonists like Mort Walker ('Beetle Bailey'), Jimmy Hatlo ('They'll Do It Every Time') and Fred Lasswell ('Barney Google and Snuffy Smith').
In 1954, he joined Harvey Comics, where he became a longtime artist on 'Sad Sack' comic books, based on the World War II character created by George Baker. Rhoads worked with the character until the early 1980s, while also doing spin-off features like 'Gabby Gob' and 'The Sarge'. Later on, Rhoads worked for the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen as an editorial cartoonist in the 1980s and early 1990s.