Symonds was born in Bristow, Oklahoma, the son of Nellie (née Barry) and Walter Stout Symonds. He married Elizabeth Janel Kaderli in 1952 and had three children; Victoria, Barry, and Rebecca. He and Janel divorced in 1969. He was married to actress Priscilla Pointer from 1980 until his death and was the step-father of actress Amy Irving and her siblings, David and Katie. He was the father of Vicki Morrison, Barry Symonds, and Becca Wooldridge.
He died on the morning of August 23, 2007, aged 80, from complications of prostate cancer.