01 Aug Ronald William Howard
Ronald William Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American actor and filmmaker. Howard is best known for playing two high-profile roles in television sitcoms in his youth and directing a number of successful feature films later in his career.
Howard first came to prominence 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), and the comedy filmThe Courtship of Eddie’s Father(1963).
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 1974, he played Steve Bolander in the classic coming of age film American Graffiti(1973). In 1974 Howard became a household name playing teenager Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days, continuing for seven years.Howard continued making
films during this time, appearing in the western film The Shootist(1976), and the comedy film Grand Theft Auto (1977), which he also directed.
In 1980, Howard left Happy Days to focus on directing. His films include: the science-fiction/fantasy film Cocoon (1985), the historical docudrama Apollo 13(1995) (earning him the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures), the biographical drama A Beautiful Mind(2001) (earning him the Academy Award for Best DirectorandAcademy Award for Best Picture), the thriller The Da Vinci Code(2006), the historical drama Frost/Nixon(2008) (nominated for Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
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’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 aire on ABC; and 2005’s The Happy Days 30th Anniversary Reunion, where he was reunited with most of the surviving cast.
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 had taken the stage name “Howard” by 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, and graduated from John Burroughs High School. He later attended the University of Southern California‘s School of Cinematic Arts but did not graduate.
Howard has said he knew from a young age he might want to go into directing thanks to his early experience as an actor. He actually took over directing duties on Solo: A Star Wars Story, on June 22, 2017, a film featuring Star Wars character Han Solo in his younger years. The film was released on May 23, 2018. 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.”
He married writer Cheryl Alley (b. 1953) on June 7, 1975. They have four children: daughters Bryce Dallas Howard (b. 1981) (who has earned her own acting status in films), twins Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige Howard (b. 1985) (like her father and older sister Bryce, Paige is also an actor), and son Reed Cross (b. 1987).
Ron Howard appears to have become a devoted husband, father, and a hard working individual, with drive and ambition that provides a positive role model for his own children and many others.