Ronald William Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American filmmaker and actor. Howard first came to prominence as a child actor, guest starring in several television series, including an episode of The Twilight Zone. He gained national attention for playing young Opie Taylor, the son of Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 through 1968. During this time, he also appeared in the musical film The Music Man (1962), a critical and commercial success.
Howard in 2018
Ronald William Howard
March 1, 1954
Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Education||John Burroughs High School|
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
Cheryl Alley (m. 1975)
|Children||4; including Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard|
|Parent(s)||Rance Howard |
Jean Speegle Howard
|Relatives||Clint Howard (brother)|
Howard was cast in one of the lead roles in the coming-of-age film American Graffiti (1973), which received widespread acclaim and became one of the most profitable films of all time. The following year, Howard became a household name for playing Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days, a role he would play from 1974 through 1980. Howard continued appearing in films during this time, such as the western film The Shootist (1976) and the comedy film Grand Theft Auto (1977), which also marked his directorial debut.
In 1980, Howard left Happy Days to focus on directing. His films include the science-fiction/fantasy Cocoon (1985), the fantasy Willow (1988), the thriller Backdraft (1991), the historical docudrama Apollo 13 (1995), the Christmas comedy How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the biographical drama A Beautiful Mind (2001), the biographical sports drama Cinderella Man (2005), the thriller The Da Vinci Code (2006), the historical drama Frost/Nixon (2008), and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). For A Beautiful Mind, Howard won the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2003, Howard was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Asteroid 12561 Howard is named after him. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2013. Howard has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions in the television and motion pictures industries.
Howard was born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1954, the elder son of Jean Speegle Howard (1927–2000), an actress, and Rance Howard (1928–2017), a director, writer, and actor. He has German, English, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch ancestry. His father was born with the surname "Beckenholdt" and took stage name "Howard" in 1948 for his acting career. Rance Howard was serving three years in the United States Air Force at the time of Ron's birth. The family moved to Hollywood in 1958, the year before the birth of his younger brother Clint Howard. They rented a house on the block south of the Desilu Studios, where The Andy Griffith Show was later filmed. They lived in Hollywood for at least three years, before moving to Burbank.
Howard was tutored at Desilu Studios in his younger years but continued his schooling at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary and David Star Jordan Junior High when not working in television, eventually graduating from John Burroughs High School. He later attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts but did not graduate.
Early acting roles and The Andy Griffith Show
In 1959, Howard had his first credited film role, in The Journey. He appeared in June Allyson's CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson in the episode "Child Lost"; in The Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance"; a few episodes of the first season of the sitcom Dennis the Menace, as Stewart, one of Dennis's friends; and several first- and second-season episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Howard played "Timmy" (uncredited) in "Counterfeit Gun", Season 4, Episode 2 (1960) of the TV series, "The Cheyenne Show."
In 1960, Howard was cast as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. Credited as "Ronny Howard", he portrayed the son of the title character (played by Andy Griffith) for all eight seasons of the show. Recalling his experiences as a child actor on set, he commented
I was five years old. And I was preoccupied with the prop that was in my hand, because it was a toy turtle. But I had to pretend it was a real turtle that the audience just wasn't seeing, and it was dead, so I was supposed to be crying and very emotional, and I remember him looking at that little turtle and talking to me about how it was kind of funny to have to pretend that was dead. So I recall just a very relaxed first impression.
In the 1962 film version of The Music Man, Howard played Winthrop Paroo, the child with the lisp; the film starred Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. He also starred in the 1963 film The Courtship of Eddie's Father, with Glenn Ford.
He appeared as Barry Stewart on The Eleventh Hour in 1965; on I Spy, in the episode "Little Boy Lost", in 1966; as Henry Fonda's son in an ABC series, The Smith Family, in 1968; as Jodah, in "Land of the Giants", in 1969; as a boy whose father was shot, on the TV show "Daniel Boone", in 1971–72; and as an underage Marine on M*A*S*H in the episode "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", in 1973. In the 1970s, he appeared in at least one episode of The Bold Ones, as a teenage tennis player with an illness.
Howard appeared on the 1969 Disneyland Records album The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion. It featured the story of two teenagers, Mike (Howard) and Karen (Robie Lester), who get trapped inside the Haunted Mansion. Thurl Ravenscroft plays the Narrator, Pete Reneday plays the Ghost Host, and Eleanor Audley plays Madame Leota. Some of the effects and ideas that were planned but never permanently made it to the attraction are mentioned here: the Raven speaks in the Stretching Room, and the Hatbox Ghost is mentioned during the Attic scene. It was reissued in 1998 as a cassette tape titled A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion and on CD in 2009.
In 1974, Howard guest starred as Seth Turner, the best friend of Jason Walton (Jon Walmsley), in The Waltons, "The Gift". In the episode, Seth wants to learn to play an instrument in his father's band, but it looks as if he will not have the time; he has been diagnosed with leukemia. The concept of death – and the unfairness of it all – is an extremely difficult one for Jason to accept, and it is up to Grandpa to help the boy through this crisis. Featured in the cast as Dr. McIvers is Ron Howard's father Rance Howard.
Film roles and Happy Days
Howard played Steve Bolander in George Lucas's coming-of-age film American Graffiti in 1973. A role in an installment of series Love, American Style, titled "Love and the Television Set", led to his being cast as Richie Cunningham in the TV series Happy Days (for syndication, the segment was re-titled "Love and the Happy Days"). Beginning in 1974, he played the likeable "buttoned-down" boy, in contrast to Henry Winkler's "greaser" Arthur "Fonzie"/"The Fonz" Fonzarelli. On the Happy Days set, he developed an on- and off-screen chemistry with series leads Winkler and Tom Bosley. The three remained friends until Bosley's death in October 2010.
In 1976, Howard played Gillom Rogers in the movie The Shootist, with John Wayne. Howard's last significant on-screen role was a reprise of his famous role as Opie Taylor in the 1986 TV movie Return to Mayberry, an Andy Griffith Show reunion reuniting him with Griffith, Don Knotts, and most of the cast. He also appeared in two Happy Days TV reunions: 1992's The Happy Days Reunion Special, a retrospective hosted by Winkler that aired on ABC; and 2005's The Happy Days 30th Anniversary Reunion, where he was reunited with most of the surviving cast.
Before leaving Happy Days in 1980, Howard made his directing debut with the 1977 low-budget comedy/action film Grand Theft Auto. This came after cutting a deal with Roger Corman, wherein Corman let Howard direct a film in exchange for Howard starring in Eat My Dust!, with Christopher Norris. Howard went on to direct several TV movies. His big theatrical break came in 1982, with Night Shift, featuring Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, and Henry Winkler.
He has since directed a number of high-visibility films, including Splash, Cocoon, Willow, Parenthood, Backdraft, Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director), Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Rush, In the Heart of the Sea and Inferno.
Howard was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's 2009 Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award. Michael Keaton presented him with the Award.
Howard took over directing duties on Solo: A Star Wars Story, a film featuring Star Wars character Han Solo in his younger years. The film was released on May 23, 2018. Howard officially replaced directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller on June 22, 2017; they were let go from their position two days earlier, reportedly due to their refusal to compromise with Lucasfilm over the direction of the film; reportedly the directors encouraged significant improvisations by the actors, which was believed by some at Lucasfilm to be "shifting the story off-course". At the time, the film was nearly completed, with three and a half weeks left to film and another five weeks of reshoots scheduled. Howard posted on Twitter, "I'm beyond grateful to add my voice to the Star Wars Universe after being a fan since 5/25/77. I hope to honor the great work already done & help deliver on the promise of a Han Solo film."
Howard is the co-chairman, with Brian Grazer, of Imagine Entertainment, a film and television production company. Imagine has produced several films including Friday Night Lights, 8 Mile, and Inside Deep Throat, as well as the television series 24, Felicity, and Arrested Development which Howard also narrated.
In July 2012, it was announced that Imagine had put into development Conquest for Showtime, a period drama based on the 16th century conquest of the Aztecs by Spanish Conquistadors. To be directed by Howard, the series was originally planned as a feature film before it was decided that the project was more suited to television.
As part of Imagine Entertainment, he appeared in a 1997 print ad for Milk – Where's your mustache?, in which he wore a cap for Imagine Entertainment and sported a milk mustache. Earlier versions show a younger Ronny Howard on the other side.
Howard married writer Cheryl Alley (b. 1953) on June 7, 1975. They have four children: daughters Bryce Dallas Howard (b. 1981) (actor), twins Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige Howard (b. 1985) (actor), and son Reed Cross (b. 1987).
|1977||Grand Theft Auto||Yes||No||Yes||Directorial debut|
|1986||Gung Ho||Yes||Yes||No||Australian title: Working Class Man|
|1992||Far and Away||Yes||Yes||Story|
|2000||How the Grinch Stole Christmas||Yes||Yes||No|
|2001||A Beautiful Mind||Yes||Yes||No|
|2006||The Da Vinci Code||Yes||Yes||No|
|2009||Angels & Demons||Yes||Yes||No|
|2015||In the Heart of the Sea||Yes||Yes||No|
|2018||Solo: A Star Wars Story||Yes||No||No||Replaced directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller|
As executive producer
|1956||Frontier Woman||Bit Part||Uncredited|
|1959||The Journey||Billy Rhinelander|
|1961||Five Minutes to Live||Bobby||Credited as Ronny Howard|
|1962||The Music Man||Winthrop Paroo|
|1963||The Courtship of Eddie's Father||Eddie|
|1964||The Fugitive||Gus||"Cry Uncle" E.11 x S.02, credited as Ronny Howard|
|1965||Village of the Giants||Genius|
|1970||The Wild Country||Virgil Tanner|
|1973||American Graffiti||Steve Bolander|
|Happy Mother's Day, Love George||Johnny|
|1974||The Spikes Gang||Les Richter|
|1976||The First Nudie Musical||Auditioning actor||Uncredited|
|Eat My Dust!||Hoover Niebold|
|The Shootist||Gillom Rogers|
|1977||Grand Theft Auto||Sam Freeman|
|1979||More American Graffiti||Steve Bolander|
|1982||Night Shift||Annoying Sax Player / Boy Making out with Girlfriend||Uncredited cameos|
|1998||Welcome to Hollywood||Himself|
|How the Grinch Stole Christmas||Whoville Townsperson||Uncredited|
|2001||Osmosis Jones||Tom Colonic||Voice role|
|A Beautiful Mind||Man at Governor's Ball||Uncredited|
|2013||From Up on Poppy Hill||Philosophy Club's president||Voice role|
|2016||Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie||Himself|
|1992||The Magical World of Chuck Jones||Yes||No||Yes|
|1999||Beyond the Mat||No||Yes||No|
|2004||Tell Them Who You Are||No||No||Yes|
|2005||Inside Deep Throat||No||uncredited||No|
|2007||In the Shadow of the Moon||No||No||Yes|
|2012||Katy Perry: Part of Me||No||Yes||No|
|2013||Made in America||Yes||No||Yes|
|2016||The Beatles: Eight Days a Week||Yes||Yes||No|
|1969||Old Paint||No||Yes||No||Credited as Ronny Howard|
|Deed of Derring-Do||No||Yes||No|
|Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death||No||Yes||No|
|2011||The Death and Return of Superman||No||No||Yes||Max's Son|
|When You Find Me||Yes||No||No|
|1978||Cotton Candy||Yes||No||Yes||TV Movie|
|1981||Through the Magic Pyramid||Yes||Yes||No|
|1959||Johnny Ringo||Ricky Parrot||Episode: "The Accused"|
|Five Fingers||N/A||Episode: "Station Break"|
|The Twilight Zone||Wilcox Boy||Episode: "Walking Distance"|
|The DuPont Show with June Allyson||Wim Wegless||Episode: "Child Lost"|
|Dennis the Menace||Stewart||6 episodes|
|The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis||Dan Adams/Georgie/Little Boy with Ray Gun||4 episodes|
|General Electric Theater||Barnaby Baxter/Randy||2 episodes:|
|Hennesey||Walker||Episode: "The Baby Sitter"|
|1960||The Danny Thomas Show||Opie Taylor||Episode: "Danny Meets Andy Griffith"|
|Cheyenne||Timmy||Episode: "Counterfeit Gun";|
|Pete and Gladys||Tommy||Episode: "The Goat Story"|
|1960–1968||The Andy Griffith Show||Opie Taylor||209 episodes, credited as Ronnie Howard|
|1962||Route 66||Chet Duncan||Episode: "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat"|
|The New Breed||Tommy Simms||Episode: "So Dark the Night"|
|1963||The Eleventh Hour||Barry Stewart||Episode: "Is Mr. Martian Coming Back?"|
|1964||The Great Adventure||Daniel Waterhouse||Episode: "Plague"|
|Dr. Kildare||Jerry Prentice||Episode: "A Candle in the Window"|
|The Fugitive||Gus||Episode: "Cry Uncle"|
|1965||The Big Valley||Tommy||Episode: "Night of the Wolf"|
|1966||Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.||Opie Taylor||Episode: "Opie Joins the Marines"|
|I Spy||Alan Loden||Episode: "Little Boy Lost"|
|1967||The Monroes||Timothy Prescott||Episode: "Teaching the Tiger to Purr"|
|Gentle Ben||Jody Cutler||Episode: "Green-Eyed Bear"|
|1968||Mayberry R.F.D.||Opie Taylor||Episode: "Andy and Helen Get Married"|
|The Archie Show||Archie Andrews||Early Pilot Cartoon|
|Lancer||Turk Caudle/Willy||2 episodes|
|1969||Judd for the Defense||Phil Beeton||Episode: "Between the Dark and the Daylight"|
|Daniel Boone||Luke||Episode: "A Man Before His Time"|
|Gunsmoke||Jamie||Episode: "Charlie Noon"|
|Land of the Giants||Jodar||Episode: "Genius At Work"|
|The Headmaster||Tony Landis||Episode: "Will the Real Mother of Tony Landis Please Stand Up?"|
|Lassie||Gary||Episode: "Gary Here Comes Glory!" Part 1 & 2|
|1971–1972||The Smith Family||Bob Smith||39 episodes|
|1972||Love, American Style||Richard 'Richie' Cunningham||Episode: "Love and the Happy Days"|
|The Bold Ones: The New Doctors||Cory Merlino||Episode: "Discovery at Fourteen"|
|Bonanza||Ted Hoag||Episode: "The Initiation"|
|1973||M*A*S*H||Private Walter/ Wendell Peterson||Episode: "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet"|
|1974||The Waltons||Seth Turner||Episode: "The Gift"|
|1974–1984||Happy Days||Richard 'Richie' Cunningham||171 episodes|
|1974||Locusts||Donny Fletcher||TV Movie|
|The Migrants||Lyle Barlow|
|1975||Huckleberry Finn||Huckleberry Finn|
|1976||Laverne & Shirley||Richie Cunningham||2 episodes|
|I'm a Fool||Andy||TV Movie|
|1980||The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang||Richie Cunningham||Voice role;|
Episode: "King for a Day"
|Act of Love||Leon Cybulkowski||TV Movie|
|1981||Bitter Harvest||Ned De Vries|
|Fire on the Mountain||Lee Mackie|
|1983||When Your Lover Leaves||N/A||TV Movie;|
|1986||Return to Mayberry||Opie Taylor||TV Movie|
|1998–1999||The Simpsons||Himself||Voice role;|
Episode: "Good Samaritan"
Semi-fictional version of himself
|2016||The Odd Couple||Stanley||Episode: "Taffy Days"|
|2017||This Is Us||Himself||Episodes: "What Now?", "Deja Vu", "Vegas, Baby"|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Work||Academy Awards||BAFTA Awards||Golden Globe Awards|
|2000||How the Grinch Stole Christmas||3||1||1||1||1|
|2001||A Beautiful Mind||8||4||5||2||6||4|
|2006||The Da Vinci Code||1|
|2018||Solo: A Star Wars Story||1|
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
- Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts Archived 2012-08-05 at Archive.today
- Carlson, Erin (January 23, 2013). "Les Moonves, Dick Wolf and Ron Howard Among TV 'Hall of Fame' Inductees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- "Ron Howard receives rare 2nd star on Hollywood Walk of Fame". Los Angeles Daily News. City News Service. December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- "Ron Howard Biography (1954–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Gray 2003, p. 157.
- "Ron Howard Biography". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
- "Ron Howard". celebrina.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013.
- "Clint Howard". fringepedia.net. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014.
- "Pals of the Saddle- Ron Howard [Archive] – JWMB – The Original John Wayne Message Board!". dukewayne.com.
- "Actress keeps name of her famous family". The Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. Scripps Howard. August 3, 2004. p. B7. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Gray, Beverly (2003). Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon—and Beyond. Thomas Nelson. p. 6. ISBN 978-1418530747.
- Gray 2003, pp. 7–8.
- Estrin, Eric (February 22, 2010). "Ron Howard's 'Breakthrough'?: Ronald Reagan". The Wrap. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
- "Notable Alumni". cinema-usc.edu. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- Devine, Mary (1998). International Dictionary of University Histories. Taylor & Francis. p. 621. ISBN 1-884964-23-0.
- "Ron Howard: On Filmmaking". Bafta Guru. July 2, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Ron Howard Biography and Interview". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
- Howard, Ron (July 3, 2012). "Andy Griffith: Ron Howard shares memories". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
- MSN Entertainment The Waltons: The Gift
- fmsteinberg (September 21, 2009). ""Love, American Style" Love and the Happy Days/Love and the Newscasters (TV Episode 1972)". IMDb.
- "London Film Festival". Spoonfed.co.uk. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
- Breznican, Anthony (June 22, 2017). "How the Han Solo film broke apart – with Ron Howard picking up the pieces". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Burlingame, Russ (June 22, 2017). "Ron Howard Comments on Taking Over The Han Solo Movie". Comicbook.com. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Dry, Jude (November 16, 2017). "Ron Howard Will Teach You Directing, In Case There's a 'Star Wars' in Your Future – Watch". IndieWire. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
- Nellie Andreeva. "Showtime & Imagine Team For Aztec Drama Directed By Ron Howard & Penned By Jose Rivera". Deadline.
- "Cheryl Howard Crew - The Official Site". cherylhowardcrew.com.
- Cheryl Howard Crew: To the Pier, Intrepidly, The New York Times, 24 April 2005
- Gray 2003, p. 76-77.
- Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 304-305.
- Ron Howard on IMDb
- Ron Howard at the TCM Movie Database
- Ron Howard at AllMovie
- 2002 Commencement Address (USC School of Cinema-Television)
- Ron Howard: Imagining the Wonders of Willow – Article at StarWars.com
- Ron Howard at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture – Howard, Ron
- Appearances on C-SPAN