Born into showbiz, Ron Howard’s career began as an actor at the tender age of 18 months, but he went on to become one of the most versatile and legendary Oscar-winning directors in Hollywood.
Born to struggling actors Jean and Rance Howard on March 1, 1954, in Duncan, Oklahoma, Ron made his screen debut alongside his father in1956, in the western called “Frontier Woman.”
Ron snagged his most memorable acting role as Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1960 and made his break into feature films with “The Music Man.”
The young actor’s demand continued well into his teens when he starred as the lead, Richie Cunningham in the long-running sitcom “Happy Days” from 1974 until 1984.
During the same time, Ron starred in John Wayne’s last film, “The Shootist” and landed a leading role in the movie “American Graffiti.”
But Ron was determined to become a film director in spite of his already successful acting career. After directing several episodes of “Happy Days,” Ron searched for a break into feature films, which came most unusually.
Then 23-years-old, Ron struck a deal with an independent producer, Roger Corman. He offered to act in one of Roger’s films in exchange for an opportunity to direct, and it paid off.
Roger’s film “Grand Theft Auto” became Ron’s project, and together with his father, Rance it became a success.
Ron had the break into film directing he wanted and capitalized with comedies like “Night Shift” in 1982 and the fantasy comedies, “Cocoon” and “Splash,” which also marked the start of many amazing collaborations with actor Tom Hanks.
Along with his partner, Brian Grazer, Ron founded the production company Imagine Entertainment and continued to produce hit comedies like “Kindergarten Cop” and “My Girl.” But in 1991 he directed his first drama, “Backdraft,” which became a huge success followed by “Apollo 13” in 1995 that earned him the Best Director award of the Directors Guild of America in 1996.
Ron Howard’s talent and versatility continued to show in other genres like the hit thriller “Ransom” in 1996 that preceded one of Ron’s most significant achievements. The 2001 film, “A Beautiful Mind,” won Ron an Oscar for Best Director in 2002, and a four Oscar win for the movie in total.
The adaptations of the two Dan Brown novels, “The Da Vinci Code” in 2006 followed by “Angels and Demons” in 2009 became hugely successful. He kept the ball rolling with the production of numerous television series, including “Arrested Development,” “Curious George,” “Felicity,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “24.”
From child star to one of the most respected Hollywood filmmakers, he got credited with 89 acting roles, 95 producer credits, and 46 director credits throughout his ongoing career. From those, Ron earned 39 award wins and 74 nominations.
His personal life didn’t get left behind, as Ron married his high school sweetheart Cheryl Alley on June 7, 1975, with whom he had four children.
Two of his daughter followed in their father’s footsteps, as Bryce Dallas Howard went on to become a successful actress and director and starred in films like the 2006 “Lady in the Water” and “As You Like It” which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
Later on, she became known as the vampire Victoria in the fantasy film “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” and also ran from dinosaurs as Claire Dearing in “Jurrasic World,” and it's a sequel, “Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom” in 2018.
Bryce’s sister, Paige Howard also became an actress and guest starred in shows like “Medium” while she made her film debut in the 2009 comedy “Adventureland” in 2009.
Sadly, Ron shared the news of his father, Rance’s passing on November 25, 2017. While he might have been described as a struggling actor, Rance spent 70 years in Hollywood.
During that time he became known for his roles in Western series like “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke,” but Rance Howard went on to have a colorful career until his death at 89 years of age.