Ronald Howard (British actor)
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Howard as Wing Commander Hayes, 1967.
7 April 1918|
Norwood, London, England, UK
19 December 1996 (aged 78)|
Bridport, Dorset, England, UK
|Alma mater||Jesus College, Cambridge|
Patricia Horsman (1941–45)|
Jean Millar (1946–96; his death) 3 children
Leslie Howard (father)|
Ruth Evelyn Martin (mother)
Arthur Howard (uncle)|
Alan Howard (cousin)
Ronald Howard (7 April 1918 – 19 December 1996) was an English actor and writer best known in the U.S. for starring in a weekly Sherlock Holmes television series in 1954. He was the son of actor Leslie Howard.
Howard was born in South Norwood, London, the son of Ruth Evelyn (née Martin) and stage and screen actor Leslie Howard. He attended Tonbridge School. After graduating from Jesus College, Cambridge, Ronald Howard became a newspaper reporter for a while but decided to become an actor.
His first film role was an uncredited bit part in Pimpernel Smith (1941), a film directed by and starring his father in the title role, though young Howard's part ended up on the cutting room floor. In the early 1940s, Howard gained acting experience in regional theatre, the London stage and eventually films; his official debut was in 1947's While the Sun Shines. Howard received varying degrees of exposure in some well-known films, such as The Queen of Spades (1949) and The Browning Version (1951). Howard played Will Scarlet in the episode of the same name of the 1950s British television classic The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. The character of Scarlet was later portrayed by Paul Eddington.
The 1954 Sherlock Holmes television series, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle characters and produced by Sheldon Reynolds, ran for 39 episodes starring Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion-Crawford as Watson. In addition to 21st century DVD releases, in 2006 and 2014 this series was broadcast in the UK on the satellite channel Bonanza.
Howard continued mainly in British "B" films throughout the 1950s and '60s, most notably The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964), along with a few plum television guest roles in British and American television in the 1960s, including the TV series, Combat! s.2 ep.25: "What Are the Bugles Blowin' For?" - Pt.1 & 2 (1964) Wing Commander Hayes in the 1967 Cowboy in Africa TV show with Chuck Connors and Tom Nardini; 1961 episode of Boris Karloff's TV series Thriller, S2 E5 "God Grante that She Lye Stille". Of his career in British B films the film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane wrote, "Despite his blond good looks (and resemblance to his father) and his agreeable demeanour, he lacked genuine star quality."
In the mid-1970s, he reluctantly put aside his acting career to run an art gallery.
In Search of My Father
In the 1980s he wrote In Search of My Father: A Portrait of Leslie Howard, a biography covering the career and mysterious death of his father, whose plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay on 1 June 1943. His conclusion (which remains in dispute) was that the Germans' goal in shooting down the plane was to kill his father, who had been travelling through Spain and Portugal, ostensibly lecturing on film, but also meeting with local propagandists and shoring up support for the Allied cause.
The Germans suspected surreptitious activities since German agents were active throughout Spain and Portugal, which, like Switzerland, was a crossroads for persons from both sides of the conflict, but even more accessible to Allied citizens.
The book explores in detail written German orders to the Ju 88 Staffel based in France, assigned to intercept the aircraft, as well as communiqués on the British side that verify intelligence reports of the time indicating a deliberate attack on Howard. Howard was convinced that the order to shoot down the airliner came directly from Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, who had been ridiculed in one of Howard's films, and who believed Howard to be the most dangerous British propagandist.
- Romeo and Juliet (1936) - Minor Secondary Role (uncredited)
- "Pimpernel" Smith (1941) - Minor Role (uncredited)
- While the Sun Shines (1947) - Earl of Harpenden
- Night Beat (1947) - Andy Kendall
- My Brother Jonathan (1948) - Harold Dakers
- Bond Street (1948) - Steve Winter
- The Queen of Spades (1949) - Andrei
- Now Barabbas (1949) - Roberts Bank Cashier
- Double Confession (1950) - Hilary Boscombe
- Portrait of Clare (1950) - Ralph Hingston
- Flesh and Blood (1951) - Purley
- The Browning Version (1951) - Gilbert
- Assassin for Hire (1951) - Detective Inspector Carson
- Night Was Our Friend (1951) - John Harper
- Wide Boy (1952) - Inspector Carson
- Black Orchid (1953) - Dr. John Winnington
- Street Corner (1953) (aka Both Sides of the Law) - David Evans
- Noose for a Lady (1953) - Dr. Evershed
- Glad Tidings (1953) - Corporal Brayne R.A.F.
- Flannelfoot (1953) - Detective Sgt. Fitzgerald
- The Hideout (1956) - Robert Grant
- Drango (1957) - Clay Allen
- Light Fingers (1957) - Michael Lacey
- The House in the Woods (1957) - Spencer Rowlandnaked
- I Accuse! (1958) - Capt. Avril
- Gideon's Day (1958) - Paul Delafield
- Moment of Indiscretion (1958) - John Miller
- No Trees in the Street (1959) - Detective Sergeant Frank Collins
- Babette Goes to War (1959) - Fitzpatrick
- Man Accused (1959) - Bob Jenson
- One Step Beyond (1960), "The Haunting", Series 2, Episode 25
- The Spider's Web (1960) - Jeremy
- Compelled (1960) - Paul Adams
- The Monster of Highgate Ponds (1961) - Uncle Dick
- The Naked Edge (1961) - Mr. Claridge
- Come September (1961) - Spencer
- Murder She Said (1961) - Eastley
- Fate Takes a Hand (1961) - Tony
- The Spanish Sword (1962) - Sir Richard Clovell
- Skin Game (1962) - Inspector Gordon
- Live Now, Pay Later (1962) - Cedric Mason
- Nurse on Wheels (1963) - Dr. Harold Golfrey
- Operation Mermaid (1963) - Bill Webb
- Siege of the Saxons (1963) - Edmund
- Bomb in the High Street (1963) - Capt. Manning
- The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) - John Bray
- Weekend at Dunkirk (1964) - Robinson
- Africa Texas Style (1967) - Hugo Copp
- Run a Crooked Mile (1969, TV Movie) - Inspector Huntington
- The Hunting Party (1971) - Watt Nelson
- Persecution (1974) - Dr. Ross
- Take a Hard Ride (1975) - Halsey (final film role)
- "Ronald Howard". BFI.
- Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 176.
- Howard, Ronald. In Search of My Father: A Portrait of Leslie Howard. London: St. Martin's Press, 1984; ISBN 0-312-41161-8.
- "Leslie Howard." Archived 24 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine. lesliehowardsociety.multiply.com; retrieved 22 July 2010.
- In Search of My Father: A Portrait of Leslie Howard, ISBN 0-312-41161-8
- Trivial Fond Records - Leslie Howard (editor), ISBN 0-7183-0418-7