Ronald William Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American filmmaker and actor. 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 film The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963). In 1973, 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 in the role 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 Director and Academy 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 in 2018
Ronald William Howard
March 1, 1954
Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Education||Desilu Productions |
John Burroughs High School
USC School of Cinematic Arts
|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 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.
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 the episode "Is Mr. Martian Coming Back?" 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.
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."
In November 2017, Howard announced that he would be teaching his first directing class.
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) (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).
|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||Yes|
|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|
|1980||Leo and Loree||Executive producer|
|1987||No Man's Land|
|1988||Clean and Sober|
|1991||The Doors||Executive producer (Uncredited)|
|Closet Land||Executive producer|
|1997||Inventing the Abbotts|
|2010||Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!||Executive producer|
|Cowboys & Aliens|
|2014||The Good Lie|
|2015||Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle||Executive producer|
|2017||The Dark Tower|
|1956||Frontier Woman||Bit Part||Uncredited|
|1959||The Journey||Billy Rhinelander|
|1961||Five Minutes to Live||Bobby||Credited as Ronnie Howard|
|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|
|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|
|2019||Space Jam 2||Mayor Tom Colonic from Osmosis Jones||Voice role|
|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||Yes||No||Uncredited|
|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||executive||No|
|1981||Skyward Christmas||Executive producer, TV movie|
|1983||When Your Lover Leaves|
|1984–1985||Maximum Security||Executive producer|
|1985||No Greater Gift||Executive producer, TV special|
|Into Thin Air||Executive producer, TV movie|
|1986||The Lone-Star Kid|
|1999||Mullholland Drive||Executive producer, TV movie|
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon||Producer, miniseries|
|1998–2000||Sports Night||Executive producer|
|1999||Student Affairs||TV movie|
|Silicon Follies||Executive producer, TV movie|
|2001||The Beast||Executive producer|
|2012||The Great Escape|
|2014||Unsung Heroes||Executive producer, TV documentary|
|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|
|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||Also executive producer, TV Movie, Uncredited|
|1986||Return to Mayberry||Opie Taylor||TV Movie|
|1998–1999||The Simpsons||Himself||Voice role, 2 episodes|
|1999||Frasier||Stephen||Voice role, Episode: "Good Samaritan"|
Semi-fictional version of himself
Also executive producer
|2016||The Odd Couple||Stanley||Episode: "Taffy Days"|
|2017||This is Us||Himself||Episodes: "What Now?", "Deja Vu", "Vegas, Baby"|
|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|
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman. It was inspired by a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar. The film stars Russell Crowe, along with Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Judd Hirsch, Josh Lucas, Anthony Rapp, and Christopher Plummer in supporting roles. The story begins in Nash's days as a graduate student at Princeton University. Early in the film, Nash begins to develop paranoid schizophrenia and endures delusional episodes while watching the burden his condition brings on wife Alicia and friends.
The film opened in the United States cinemas on December 21, 2001. It went on to gross over $313 million worldwide and won four Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. It was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Best Original Score.It was well received by critics, but has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of some aspects of Nash's life, especially his other family and a son born out of wedlock. However, the filmmakers have stated that the film was not meant to be a literal representation of Nash's life.Andy Griffith
Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, comedian, television producer, Southern gospel singer, and writer, whose career spanned seven decades of music and television.
Known for his southern drawl, his characters with a folksy-friendly personality, and his gruff, gregarious voice, Griffith was a Tony Award nominee for two roles, and gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead roles of Andy Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968) and Ben Matlock in the legal drama Matlock (1986–1995).Backdraft (film)
Backdraft is a 1991 American drama thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by Gregory Widen. The film stars Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, Donald Sutherland, Robert De Niro, Jason Gedrick and J. T. Walsh. It is about Chicago firefighters on the trail of a serial arsonist.
The film grossed $77.9 million domestically and $74.5 million in foreign markets, for a total gross of $152.4 million. The film received three Academy Award nominations.Brian Grazer
Brian Thomas Grazer (born July 12, 1951) is an American film and television producer. He co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986, with Ron Howard. The films they produced have grossed over $13 billion. The movies include four for which Grazer was personally nominated for an Academy Award: Splash (1984), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Frost/Nixon (2008). His films and TV series have been nominated for 43 Academy Awards, and 187 Emmys.
In 2002, Grazer won an Oscar for Best Picture for A Beautiful Mind (shared with Ron Howard). In 2007, he was named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People in the World".Cinderella Man
Cinderella Man is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film by Ron Howard, titled after the nickname of world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Braddock and inspired by his life story. The film was produced by Howard, Penny Marshall, and Brian Grazer. Damon Runyon is credited for giving Braddock this nickname. Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and Paul Giamatti star. The film received generally positive reviews, and received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for Giamatti.Frost/Nixon (film)
Frost/Nixon is a 2008 British-American historical drama film based on the 2006 play of the same name by Peter Morgan, who also adapted the screenplay. The film tells the story behind the Frost/Nixon interviews of 1977. The film was directed by Ron Howard and produced for Universal Pictures by Howard, Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, and received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
The film reunites its original two stars from the West End and Broadway productions of the play: Michael Sheen as British television broadcaster David Frost and Frank Langella as former United States President Richard Nixon. It was released in the United States on December 5, 2008 and in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2009.Inferno (2016 film)
Inferno is a 2016 American action mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard and written by David Koepp, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Dan Brown. The film is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009), and is the third installment in the Robert Langdon film series. It stars Tom Hanks, reprising his role as Robert Langdon, alongside Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, and Irrfan Khan. Together with the previous film, it remains Hanks' only live-action sequel.
Filming began on April 27, 2015, in Venice, Italy, and wrapped on July 21, 2015, in Budapest. The film premiered in Florence on October 9, 2016, and was released in the United States on October 28, 2016, ten years after release of The Da Vinci Code, in 2D and IMAX formats. The film received generally negative reviews from critics and grossed $220 million against a production budget of $75 million.