Ron Howard

Ron Howard
Howard in 2011
Born Ronald William Howard
(1954-03-01) March 1, 1954
Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.
Alma mater University of Southern California
Occupation Actor, filmmaker
Years active 1956–present
Cheryl Alley (m. 1975)
Children 4; including Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard
Parent(s) Rance Howard
Jean Speegle Howard
Relatives Clint Howard (brother)

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 film The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963). In 1974, he played Steve Bolander in the classic coming of age film American Graffiti (1973).In 1973 he appeared in an episode of MASH (Sometimes You hear The Bullet), under the name Ronny Howard. In 1974 Howard became a household name playing teenager Richie Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days, continuing for seven years.[1] 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).

Since 2003, Howard has narrated the Fox (later Netflix) comedy series Arrested Development, on which he also served as an executive producer and played a semi-fictionalized version of himself.

In 2003, Howard was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[2] Asteroid 12561 Howard is named after him. 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

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 had taken the stage name "Howard" by 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, and graduated 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]


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.[18]

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.[19]

Film roles and 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",[20] 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 theatrical break came in 1982, with Night Shift, featuring Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, and Henry Winkler.[1]

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 showcased the world premiere of his film Frost/Nixon at the 2008 London Film Festival in October 2008.[21]

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, trying to make it more of a comedy. At the time, the film was nearly completed, with three and a half weeks left to film and another five weeks of reshoots scheduled.[22] 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."[23]

In November 2017, Howard announced that he would be teaching his first directing class.[24]

Imagine Entertainment

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 Imagine had put in 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 being decided that the project was more suited to television.[25]

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

Howard married writer Cheryl Alley (b. 1953) on June 7, 1975.[26][27][28] 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).



Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Actor Director Writer Producer
1956 Frontier Woman Yes No No No Bit Part Uncredited
1959 The Journey Yes No No No Billy Rhinelander
1961 Five Minutes to Live Yes No No No Bobby Credited as Ronnie Howard
1962 The Music Man Yes No No No Winthrop Paroo
1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Yes No No No Eddie
1965 Village of the Giants Yes No No No Genius
1969 Old Paint No Yes No No Short films; credited as Ronny Howard
Deed of Derring-Do No Yes No No
Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death No Yes No No
1970 The Wild Country Yes No No No Virgil Tanner
1973 American Graffiti Yes No No No Steve Bolander
Happy Mother's Day, Love George Yes No No No Johnny
1974 The Spikes Gang Yes No No No Les Richter
1976 The First Nudie Musical Yes No No No Auditioning actor Uncredited
Eat My Dust! Yes No No No Hoover Niebold
The Shootist Yes No No No Gillom Rogers
1977 Grand Theft Auto Yes Yes Yes No Sam Freeman
1978 Cotton Candy No Yes Yes No Co-writer with Clint Howard
1979 More American Graffiti Yes No No No Steve Bolander
1980 Leo and Loree No No No Executive
1982 Night Shift Yes Yes No No Annoying Sax Player / Boy Making out with Girlfriend Uncredited cameos
1984 Splash No Yes No No
1985 Cocoon No Yes No No
1986 Gung Ho No Yes No Executive
1987 No Man's Land No No No Executive
1988 Willow No Yes No No
Vibes No No No Executive
Clean and Sober No No No Yes
1989 The 'Burbs No No No Executive
Parenthood No Yes Yes No
1991 The Doors No No No Executive Uncredited
Closet Land No No No Executive
Backdraft No Yes No No
1992 Far and Away No Yes Yes Yes
The Magical World of Chuck Jones Yes Yes No No Himself Documentary
1994 The Paper No Yes No No
1995 Apollo 13 No Yes No No
1996 The Chamber No No No Yes
Ransom No Yes No No
1997 Inventing the Abbotts No No No Yes
1998 One Vision Yes No No No Himself Documentary
Welcome to Hollywood Yes No No No Himself
1999 EDtv No Yes No Yes
Beyond the Mat No No No Yes Documentary
2000 The Independent Yes No No No Himself
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Yes Yes No Yes Whoville Townsperson Uncredited
2001 Osmosis Jones Yes No No No Tom Colonic Voice role
A Beautiful Mind Yes Yes No Yes Man at Governor's Ball Uncredited
2003 The Missing No Yes No Yes
2004 The Alamo No No No Yes
Tell Them Who You Are Yes No No No Himself Documentary
2005 Inside Deep Throat No No No Yes Uncredited; Documentary
Cinderella Man No Yes No Yes
2006 Curious George No No No Yes
The Da Vinci Code No Yes No Yes
2007 In the Shadow of the Moon Yes No No No Himself Documentary
2008 Frost/Nixon No Yes No Yes
2009 Angels & Demons No Yes No Yes
2010 Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! No No No Executive
2011 The Dilemma No Yes No Yes
The Death and Return of Superman Yes No No No Max's Son Short
Restless No No No Yes
Cowboys & Aliens No No No Yes
When You Find Me No No No Yes Short film
2012 Katy Perry: Part of Me No No No Yes Documentary
2013 From Up on Poppy Hill Yes No No No Philosophy Club's president Voice role
Rush No Yes No Yes
Made in America No Yes No Yes
2014 The Good Lie No No No Yes
2015 Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle No No No Executive
In the Heart of the Sea No Yes No Yes
2016 Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie Yes No No No Himself
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week No Yes No Yes Documentary
Inferno No Yes No Yes
2017 The Dark Tower No No No Yes
American Made No No No Yes Uncredited
2018 Solo: A Star Wars Story No Yes No No Replaced directors
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
2019 Thriller No No No Yes
TBA The Perfect Wife[29] No Yes No Yes


As an actor

Year Title Role Notes
1959 Johnny Ringo Ricky Parrot Episode: "The Accused"
Five Fingers 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 with Jackie Cooper Walker Episode: "The Baby Sitter"
1960 The Danny Thomas Show Opie Taylor Episode: "Danny Meets Andy Griffith"
Cheyenne Timmy Episode: "Counterfeit Gun"; uncredited
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"
1969 Daniel Boone Luke Episode: "A Man Before His Time"
1969 Gunsmoke Jamie Episode: "Charlie Noon"
1969 Land of the Giants Jodar Episode: "Genius At Work"
1970 Smoke Chris TV Movie
1970 The Headmaster Tony Landis Episode: "Will the Real Mother of Tony Landis Please Stand Up?"
1970 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"
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Cory Merlino Episode: "Discovery at Fourteen"
1972 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
1974 The Migrants Lyle Barlow TV Movie
1975 Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn TV Movie
1976 Laverne & Shirley Richie Cunningham 2 episodes
1976 I'm a Fool Andy TV Movie
1980 The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang Richie Cunningham (voice) Episode: "King for a Day"
1980 Act of Love Leon Cybulkowski TV Movie
1981 Bitter Harvest Ned De Vries TV Movie
1981 Fire on the Mountain Lee Mackie TV Movie
1983 When Your Lover Leaves TV Movie; uncredited; also executive producer
1986 Return to Mayberry Opie Taylor TV Movie
1988 Channel 99 Himself TV Movie
1998-1999 The Simpsons Himself (voice) 2 episodes
1999 Frasier Stephen (voice) Episode: "Good Samaritan"
2003–2006; 2013; 2018 Arrested Development Narrator
Semi-fictional version of himself
68 episodes; also executive producer
2016 The Odd Couple Stanley Episode: "Taffy Days"
2017 This is Us Himself Episode: "What Now?"

As a director

Year Film Role
1978 Cotton Candy TV Movie, also writer
1980 Skyward TV Movie; also executive producer
1981 Through the Magic Pyramid TV Movie; also executive producer
1983 Littleshots TV Movie; also executive producer
2017 Genius Pilot episode; also executive producer

As a producer

Year Film Role
1981 Skyward Christmas Executive producer; TV movie
1983 When Your Lover Leaves Executive producer; TV movie
1984–1985 Maximum Security Executive producer;
1985 No Greater Gift Executive producer; TV special
1985 Into Thin Air Executive producer; TV movie
1986 The Lone-Star Kid Executive producer; TV movie
1987 Take Five Executive producer; TV movie
1988 Poison Executive producer; TV movie
1999 Mullholland Drive Executive producer; TV movie
1990–1991 Parenthood Executive producer
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Producer, TV miniseries
1998–2000 Sports Night Executive producer
1998–2002 Felicity Executive producer
1999–2001 The PJs Executive producer
1999 Student Affairs TV movie
2000 Wonderland
2000 Silicon Follies Executive producer; TV movie
2001 The Beast Executive producer
2003 The Snobs Executive producer
2006–present Curious George Executive producer
2010–2015 Parenthood Executive producer
2012 The Great Escape Executive producer
2003–2006; 2013, 2018 Arrested Development Executive producer
2014 Unsung Heroes Executive producer; TV documentary
2015– Breakthrough
2016- Mars Executive producer
2017 The Dark Tower

Awards and nominations


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1999
  2. Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts Archived 2012-08-05 at
  3. Carlson, Erin (23 January 2013). "Les Moonves, Dick Wolf and Ron Howard Among TV 'Hall of Fame' Inductees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 August 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 26 August 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  8. "Ron Howard". Archived from the original on 2013-07-20.
  9. "Clint Howard". Archived from the original on 2014-08-27.
  10. "Pals Of The Saddle- Ron Howard [Archive] – JWMB – The Original John Wayne Message Board!".
  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 (Feb 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. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  18. Howard, Ron (July 3, 2012). "Andy Griffith: Ron Howard shares memories". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  19. MSN Entertainment The Waltons: The Gift
  20. fmsteinberg (21 September 2009). ""Love, American Style" Love and the Happy Days/Love and the Newscasters (TV Episode 1972)". IMDb.
  21. "London Film Festival". September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2010.
  22. 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.
  23. Burlingame, Russ (June 22, 2017). "Ron Howard Comments on Taking Over The Han Solo Movie". Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  24. Dry, Jude (2017-11-16). "Ron Howard Will Teach You Directing, In Case There's a 'Star Wars' in Your Future — Watch". IndieWire. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  25. Nellie Andreeva. "Showtime & Imagine Team For Aztec Drama Directed By Ron Howard & Penned By Jose Rivera". Deadline.
  26. "Cheryl Howard Crew - The Official Site".
  27. Cheryl Howard Crew: To the Pier, Intrepidly, The New York Times, 24 April 2005
  28. Gray 2003, p. 76-77.
  29. Fleming Jr, Mike. "'The Perfect Wife' Book Deal Another Perfect Fit For Imagine". Deadline. Retrieved 25 February 2017.


  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 304-305.
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