Remembering Rance Howard who was famous for his roles in 'Gunsmoke' and 'Bonanza'

Ksenia Novikova
Sep 18, 2018
09:22 A.M.
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The man who starred in two of the most iconic Western shows ever hung up his spurs for good last year.


On November 25th, 2017, legendary film director and actor Ron Howard shared the news of his father's unexpected passing.

His 89-year-old father was none-other than Rance Howard, one of the great character actors of Hollywood's Golden Era. He had been working in Hollywood for almost 70 years at the time of his death.

Rance started working in theater in New York in 1948 when he was just twenty. His passion led him to Hollywood, and in the 1950's he was a staple in Western series like "Gunsmoke and Bonanza."

Later he went on to play in such fabled movies as "Cool Hand Luke" and the 1974 cult classic, "Chinatown."


“He’s never made the money that people dream of, and yet he’s carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career of a character actor," Rance's granddaughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, said.

Rance married actress Jean Speegle in 1949, at just 21; and the two went on to found one of the most solid and successful show business dynasties.

The couple also had two sons: Ron and Clint Howard. Both boys followed their parent's footsteps into acting, with Ron becoming a household name in the hit series "Happy Days" in the 1970's. He went on to a brilliant career as a director


Ron Howard's films include the science-fiction film "Cocoon" - in which his father also starred - the drama "Apollo 13," and the biographical film "A Beautiful Mind," for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Picture.


Clint Howard has followed his father's footsteps more closely as a character actor and has also ventured into a musical career with a rock band.

A new generation of the Howard family is now rising to take up Rance's example: His two granddaughters, Bryce and Paige.

Bryce Dallas Howard, 37, is not just a film actress, but already a respected director, producer, and writer.


Paige Howard is a theater, television, and film actress, and has seen her talent recognized with prestigious awards, like the Best Supporting Actress at the Los Angeles Movie Awards in 2015 for her role in "The Employer."

Rance Howard has left a rich legacy, not only through his work, but by the rigorous work-ethic he taught his children - and the talent he passed on to them.

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