Ron Howard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ron Howard
Ron Howard Cannes 2018.jpg
Howard in 2018
Ronald William Howard

(1954-03-01) March 1, 1954 (age 66)
EducationJohn Burroughs High School
University of Southern California
  • Director
  • producer
  • actor
Years active1956–present
Cheryl Alley
(m. 1975)
Children4; including Bryce Dallas and Paige Howard
Parent(s)Rance Howard
Jean Speegle Howard
RelativesClint Howard (brother)

Ronald William Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American film director, producer, writer 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. He was credited as Ronny Howard in his film and television appearances from 1959 to 1973.

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 in history. 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.[1] 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, producing and occasionally writing variety films and television series. His films include the comedy Night Shift (1982), 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 (2000), 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), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), and the documentary Pavarotti (2019). For A Beautiful Mind, Howard won the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Picture. He was nominated again for the same awards for Frost/Nixon.

In 2003, Howard was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[2] He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2013.[3] Howard has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions in the television and motion pictures industries.[4]

Early life[edit]

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.[5] He has German, English, Scottish, Irish, and Dutch ancestry.[6][7][8][9][10] His father was born with the surname "Beckenholdt" and took the stage name "Howard" in 1948 for his acting career.[11][12] Rance Howard was serving three years in the United States Air Force at the time of Ron's birth.[13][14] 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.[15][16]

Howard has said he knew from a young age he might want to go into directing, thanks to his early experience as an actor.[17][18]


Early acting roles and The Andy Griffith Show[edit]

Andy Griffith and Howard in a publicity photo for The Andy Griffith Show (1961)

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.[19]

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.[20]

Film roles and Happy Days[edit]

Richie (Ron Howard) takes a turn on Fonzie's motorcycle in a scene from Happy Days

Howard played Steve Bolander in George Lucas's coming-of-age film American Graffiti in 1973.[1] A role in an installment of series Love, American Style, titled "Love and the Television Set",[21] 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.[1] 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.[1] Howard went on to direct several TV movies.[1] His big directorial break came in 1982, with Night Shift, featuring Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, and Henry Winkler.[1]

He has since directed a number of major 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 showcased the world premiere of his film Frost/Nixon at the 2008 London Film Festival in October 2008.[22]

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".[23] At the time, the film was nearly completed, with three and a half weeks left to film and another five weeks of reshoots scheduled.[23] 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."[24]

In November 2017, Howard announced that he would be teaching his first directing class.[25]

Imagine Entertainment[edit]

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.[26]

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.

In 2009, he appeared in the Jamie Foxx music video "Blame It".

Personal life[edit]

Howard married writer Cheryl Alley (born 1953) on June 7, 1975.[27][28][29] They have four children: daughters Bryce Dallas Howard (born 1981), twins Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige Howard (born 1985), and son Reed Cross (born 1987).



Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1977 Grand Theft Auto Yes No Yes Directorial debut
1982 Night Shift Yes No No
1984 Splash Yes No No
1985 Cocoon Yes No No
1986 Gung Ho Yes Yes No Australian title: Working Class Man
1988 Willow Yes No No
1989 Parenthood Yes No Story
1991 Backdraft Yes No No
1992 Far and Away Yes Yes Story
1994 The Paper Yes No No
1995 Apollo 13 Yes No No
1996 Ransom Yes No No
1999 EDtv Yes Yes No
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Yes Yes No
2001 A Beautiful Mind Yes Yes No
2003 The Missing Yes Yes No
2005 Cinderella Man Yes Yes No
2006 The Da Vinci Code Yes Yes No
2008 Frost/Nixon Yes Yes No
2009 Angels & Demons Yes Yes No
2011 The Dilemma Yes Yes No
2013 Rush Yes Yes No
2015 In the Heart of the Sea Yes Yes No
2016 Inferno Yes Yes No
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story Yes No No Replaced directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
2020 Hillbilly Elegy Yes Yes No Post-production

As actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1956 Frontier Woman Bit Part Uncredited
1959 The Journey Billy Rhinelander Credited as Ronny Howard
1959 Walking Distance Boy with marbles
1961 Five Minutes to Live Bobby
1962 The Music Man Winthrop Paroo
1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Eddie
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
2000 The Independent 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

Documentary films[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Himself
1992 The Magical World of Chuck Jones Yes No Yes
1998 One Vision No 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
2019 Pavarotti Yes Yes No
2020 Rebuilding Paradise Yes Yes No
TBA Julia Yes Yes No Post-production

Short films[edit]

Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Director Producer Actor
1969 Old Paint No Yes No Credited as Ronny Howard
Deed of Daring-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


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Executive
1978 Cotton Candy Yes No Yes TV Movie
1980 Skyward Yes Yes No
1981 Through the Magic Pyramid Yes Yes No
1983 Littleshots Yes Yes No
2017 Genius Yes Yes No Pilot episode

Executive producer

Year Title Role
1981 Skyward Christmas TV movie
1983 When Your Lover Leaves
1984–1985 Maximum Security
1985 No Greater Gift TV special
Into Thin Air TV movie
1986 The Lone-Star Kid
1987 Take Five
1988 Poison
1999 Mullholland Drive
1990–1991 Parenthood
1998–2000 Sports Night
1998–2002 Felicity
1999–2001 The PJs
2000 Silicon Follies TV movie
2001 The Beast
2003 The Snobs
2006–present Curious George
2010–2015 Parenthood
2012 The Great Escape
2013, 2018
Arrested Development
2014 Unsung Heroes TV documentary
2016–2018 Mars
2020 68 Whiskey


Year Title Role
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Miniseries
1999 Student Affairs TV movie
2000 Wonderland
2015–present Breakthrough

As Actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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"
1970 Smoke Chris TV Movie
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
1975-1981 Insight Connie/Joe 2 episodes
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
1988 Channel 99 Himself
1998–1999 The Simpsons Himself Voice role;
2 episodes: "When You Dish Upon a Star" & "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder"
1999 Frasier Stephen Voice role;
Episode: "Good Samaritan"
2013; 2018
Arrested Development Narrator
Semi-fictional version of himself
68 episodes.
2016 The Odd Couple Stanley Episode: "Taffy Days"
2017 This Is Us Himself Episodes: "What Now?", "Deja Vu", "Vegas, Baby"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Academy Awards BAFTA Awards Golden Globe Awards
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1982 Night Shift 1
1984 Splash 1 1
1985 Cocoon 2 2 1
1988 Willow 1
1989 Parenthood 2 1
1991 Backdraft 3 1
1994 The Paper 1
1995 Apollo 13 9 2 5 2 4
1996 Ransom 1
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas 3 1 1 1 1
2001 A Beautiful Mind 8 4 5 2 6 4
2005 Cinderella Man 3 1 2
2006 The Da Vinci Code 1
2008 Frost/Nixon 5 6 5
2013 Rush 4 1 2
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story 1
Total 39 9 23 6 26 4


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
  2. ^ Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts Archived 2012-08-05 at
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Ron Howard Biography (1954–)". Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  6. ^ Gray 2003, p. 157.
  7. ^ "Ron Howard Biography". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "Ron Howard". Archived from the original on July 20, 2013.
  9. ^ "Clint Howard". Archived from the original on August 27, 2014.
  10. ^ "Pals of the Saddle- Ron Howard [Archive] – JWMB – The Original John Wayne Message Board!". Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "Actress keeps name of her famous family". The Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. Scripps Howard. August 3, 2004. p. B7. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Gray, Beverly (2003). Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon—and Beyond. Thomas Nelson. p. 6. ISBN 978-1418530747.
  13. ^ Gray 2003, pp. 7–8.
  14. ^ Estrin, Eric (February 22, 2010). "Ron Howard's 'Breakthrough'?: Ronald Reagan". The Wrap. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  15. ^ "Notable Alumni". Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  16. ^ Devine, Mary (1998). International Dictionary of University Histories. Taylor & Francis. p. 621. ISBN 1-884964-23-0.
  17. ^ "Ron Howard: On Filmmaking". Bafta Guru. July 2, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  18. ^ "Ron Howard Biography and Interview". American Academy of Achievement.
  19. ^ Howard, Ron (July 3, 2012). "Andy Griffith: Ron Howard shares memories". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  20. ^ MSN Entertainment The Waltons: The Gift
  21. ^ fmsteinberg (September 21, 2009). ""Love, American Style" Love and the Happy Days/Love and the Newscasters (TV Episode 1972)". IMDb.
  22. ^ "London Film Festival". September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  23. ^ a b 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.
  24. ^ Burlingame, Russ (June 22, 2017). "Ron Howard Comments on Taking Over The Han Solo Movie". Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Nellie Andreeva. "Showtime & Imagine Team For Aztec Drama Directed By Ron Howard & Penned By Jose Rivera". Deadline.
  27. ^ "Cheryl Howard Crew - The Official Site".
  28. ^ Cheryl Howard Crew: To the Pier, Intrepidly, The New York Times, 24 April 2005
  29. ^ 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.

External links[edit]