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For other people named Ron Howard, see Ronald Howard (disambiguation).

Ronald William "Ron" Howard (born March 1, 1954) is an American film director and producer, as well as an actor. Howard came to prominence in the 1960s while playing the son of sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith), Opie Taylor, on The Andy Griffith Show (credited as Ronny Howard), and later in the 1970s as Howard Cunningham's son and Arthur Fonzarelli's best friend (played by Tom Bosley and Henry Winkler respectively), Richie Cunningham, on Happy Days (a role he played from 1974 to 1980). Since retiring from acting, he has directed many films including Splash, Cocoon, Backdraft, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, and Angels & Demons.

In 2003, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[1]

Early life

Howard was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Jean Speegle Howard, an actress, and Rance Howard, a director, writer, and actor.[2] His family moved to Burbank, California in 1958, the year before the birth of his younger brother, Clint Howard. Howard graduated from John Burroughs High School, and later attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts but did not graduate.[3]


Early acting roles and The Andy Griffith Show

In 1959, he had his first credited film role, in The Journey, and appeared in June Allyson's CBS anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson in the episode "Child Lost," as well as The Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance", about a man (Gig Young) who learns that he cannot go home again.

In 1960, he was cast in the role of Opie Taylor in the hit CBS television series The Andy Griffith Show, a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show. Credited as "Ronny Howard," he portrayed the son of the local sheriff, played by Andy Griffith, in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina for the entire eight seasons of the show. He also spent a lot of time with Griffith off-screen.

Howard played Winthrop Paroo, the child with the lisp in the 1962 film version of The Music Man with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones. He also starred in the 1963 film The Courtship of Eddie's Father with Glenn Ford and (billed as "Ronny Howard") in Little Boy Lost, a 1963 episode of the NBC medical drama The Eleventh Hour as the character Barry Stewart in the episode entitled "Is Mr. Martian Coming Back?", and a 1966 episode of the NBC adventure series I Spy with Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. Howard made a guest-star appearance on the television series M*A*S*H during that show's first season as an underage American serving in the Marines during the Korean War. In the 1970s, Ron Howard appeared in at least one episode of The Bold Ones as a teenage tennis player with an illness.

In 1976, Howard was offered the role of Gillom Rogers in the movie The Shootist, starring opposite Hollywood legend John Wayne. At the time, Howard had no idea that this would be the last pairing of the two, as Wayne would die three years later of cancer; in fact, Howard is often quoted as saying, "About a couple of months after filming wrapped on The Shootist, Duke called me up and said, 'I found a good script, kid . . . it's you and me, or it's nobody." As a token of respect, during the beginning of The Shootist, Howard lent his voice to the beginning montage, which shows Wayne in various clips from his career.

American Graffiti and Happy Days

Howard played Steve Bollander in George Lucas' coming-of-age film American Graffiti in 1973. The role led to him being cast as Richie Cunningham in the TV series Happy Days on which, beginning in 1974, he played the likeable "buttoned-down" boy, in contrast to Henry Winkler's "greaser" Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli. In 1977, while still starring on Happy Days, he directed his first film, a low-budget comedy/action film called Grand Theft Auto.

His last significant on-screen role was when he reprised his famous role as Opie Taylor in the 1986 TV reunion movie Return to Mayberry reuniting him with Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and most of the old cast.

When asked in 2000 if he would ever like to return to acting, he replied "Only if I can act with Cindy Williams again," referring to the actress who played opposite him in American Graffiti.


Before leaving Happy Days in 1980, Howard made his directing debut with the 1977 project Grand Theft Auto (after cutting a deal with Roger Corman to star 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 soon-to-be stars, such as Michael Keaton and Shelley Long, as well as reuniting Howard with Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler.

He has since directed a number of high-visibility films, including Splash, Parenthood, Cocoon, Willow, Backdraft, Apollo 13 (nominated for nine Academy Awards and winning two), A Beautiful Mind (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director), Cinderella Man, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

Howard's younger brother, Clint, has minor roles in most of his movies. He has also cast his father and mother (prior to her death in 2000) in a number of roles. Both his wife, Cheryl Howard, and father Rance Howard appeared in Angels & Demons as a CERN scientist and as Cardinal Beck, respectively.[4]

Howard showcased the world premiere of his film Frost/Nixon at the 2008 London Film Festival in October 2008.[5]

Ron Howard was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival's 2009 Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award. Michael Keaton presented him with the Award.

Howard has signed on to direct the upcoming first film adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series, as well as the first season of the TV series.[6]

Imagine Entertainment

Howard is the co-chairman, with Brian Grazer, of Imagine Entertainment, a major film and television production company, which has produced notable projects like Friday Night Lights, 8 Mile, Inside Deep Throat, and the television series 24, Felicity and Arrested Development, which he also narrated.

Personal life

On June 7, 1975, Howard wed his high-school sweetheart, Cheryl (née Alley), a writer with a degree in geriatric psychology. They have four children; daughters Bryce Dallas (b. 2 March 1981), Jocelyn Carlyle and Paige Carlyle (twins, b. 1985), and son Reed Cross (b. 1987). His daughters' middle names indicate where they were conceived, Bryce in Dallas, twins Jocelyn and Paige at the Hotel Carlyle in New York City. Son Reed Cross was named after a London street because "Volvo isn't a very good middle name", according to Howard.[7] Daughters Bryce and Paige are actresses. The family lives on a Script error: No such module "convert". estate in the exclusive gated community of Conyers Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut.[8][9][10] In February 2007, Howard became a grandfather when his daughter, Bryce, gave birth to a son, Theodore Norman Howard Gabel.

Howard is a sixth cousin to his Andy Griffith Show co-star, Don Knotts, through Howard's ancestor Lucinda Knotts.

In the June 2006 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Ron Howard was asked, "What do you consider your greatest achievement?" He replied, "Forty-eight consecutive years of steady employment in television and film, while preserving a rich family life."

Howard in popular culture

Howard appeared as himself twice in The Simpsons. In "When You Dish Upon a Star", Homer meets and befriends Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Howard. Later in the episode, Howard is injured when trying to jump from a truck to the RV that Homer was driving. In the end, he pitches Homer's movie idea and gets it greenlit. Another episode ("Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder") Homer and Howard are fighting each other while appearing on The Springfield Squares. Later, Howard gives Homer the inspiration to spend more time with his kids and gives him some money that Homer refuses but takes anyway. Ron yoinks the money back from Homer and then drives away.

When he hosted Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, Eddie Murphy called him "Opie Cunningham".

In the South Park episode, "Ginger Kids", Cartman asks a crowd of fellow gingers to name great Americans with red hair, the only name they can think of is "Ron Howard", and when asked to name a second, one responds "Ron Howard" again.

On a VH1 special about the 100 greatest Child Stars, many of the interviewees considered Ron Howard to be the most successful child star of all-time, considering his two major television acting roles and his directing career.[citation needed] In Season 1, Episode 3 of Stroker and Hoop on Adult Swim, Stroker and Hoop ran a detective agency whose first client needed them to make Ron Howard stop controlling his mind.

In October 2008, Howard reprised his roles as Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham for the first time in over 20 years when he appeared in a video on in which he endorsed Barack Obama and urged people to vote. The video, titled "Ron Howard’s Call to Action",[11] also features Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler. As seen in the video, Howard is seen shaving his beard and wearing wigs to recreate his younger look.

Ron Howard recently made a cameo appearance in the 2009 music video for fellow Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx's song "Blame It" along side Academy Award winner Forrest Whittaker, Academy Award nominee, Jake Gyllenhaal and Samuel L. Jackson. In the video he is shown holding a glass of champagne.




Year Title Oscar nominations Oscar wins Notes
1969 Old Paint Short film
Deed of Daring-Do Short film
Cards, Cads, Guns, Gore and Death Short film
1977 Grand Theft Auto Also writer
1982 Night Shift
1984 Splash 1
1985 Cocoon 2 2
1986 Gung Ho Also executive producer
1988 Willow 2
1989 Parenthood 2 Also writer
1991 Backdraft 3
1992 Far and Away Also writer/producer
1994 The Paper 1
1995 Apollo 13 9 2
1996 Ransom
1999 EDtv Also producer
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas 3 1 Also producer
2001 A Beautiful Mind 8 4 Also producer
2003 The Missing Also producer
2005 Cinderella Man 3 Also producer
2006 The Da Vinci Code Also producer
2008 Frost/Nixon 5 Also producer
2009 Angels & Demons Also producer
2011 The Dilemma
TBA The Dark Tower


Year Film Notes
1978 Cotton Candy Writer/Director
1980 Skyward Director/Executive producer
1981 Through the Magic Pyramid Director/Executive producer
1983 Littleshots Director
1987 Take Five Director/Executive producer
2003 Arrested Development Executive producer
2010 Parenthood Executive producer only



Year Film Role Notes
1959 The Journey Billy Rhinelander as Ronny Howard
1961 Door-to-Door Maniac Bobby as Ronnie Howard
1962 The Music Man Winthrop Paroo as Ronny Howard
1963 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Eddie as Ronny Howard
1965 Village of the Giants Genius as Ronny Howard
1970 The Wild Country Virgil as Ronny Howard
1973 American Graffiti Steve Bolander as Ronny Howard
Happy Mother's Day, Love George Johnny
1974 The Spikes Gang Les Richter
1975 Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn
1976 The First Nudie Musical Auditioning actor uncredited
Eat My Dust Hoover Niebold
The Shootist Gillom Rogers Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1977 Grand Theft Auto Sam Freeman
1979 More American Graffiti Steve Bolander
1982 Night Shift Annoying Sax Player/Boy Making out with Girlfriend in Front of Chuck's Apartment uncredited
1992 The Magical World of Chuck Jones Himself documentary
1998 One Vision Himself documentary
Welcome to Hollywood Himself
2000 The Independent Himself
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Whoville Townsperson uncredited
2001 Osmosis Jones Tom Colonic (voice)
A Beautiful Mind Man at Governor's Ball uncredited
2004 Tell Them Who You Are Himself documentary
2007 In the Shadow of the Moon Himself documentary


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Johnny Ringo Ricky Parrot 1 episode
The Twilight Zone The Wilcox Boy Episode "Walking Distance"
1959–1960 The June Allyson Show Wim "Child Lost"
(as Ronny Howard)
Dennis the Menace Stewart 5 episodes, 1959–1960
1959–1961 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis various roles 4 episodes
(as Ronny Howard)
General Electric Theater various roles 2 episodes
1960 Make Room for Daddy Opie Taylor "Danny Meets Andy Griffith"
Cheyenne Timmy "Counterfeit Gun"
Pete and Gladys Tommy "The Goat Story"
1960–1968 The Andy Griffith Show Opie Taylor 209 episodes
(as Ronny Howard)
1962 Route 66 Chet "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat"
(as Ronny Howard)
The New Breed Tommy Simms "So Dark the Night"
1963 The Eleventh Hour Barry Stewart "Is Mr. Martian Coming Back?"
(as Ronny Howard)
1964 The Great Adventure Daniel Waterhouse "Plague"
(as Ronny Howard)
Dr. Kildare Jerry Prentice "A Candle in the Window"
(as Ronny Howard)
The Fugitive Gus "Cry Uncle"
1965 The Big Valley Tommy "Night of the Wolf"
(as Ronny Howard)
1966 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Opie Taylor "Opie Joins the Marines"
(as Ronny Howard)
1966 I Spy Alan Loden "Little Boy Lost"
1967 The Monroes Timothy Prescott "Teaching the Tiger to Purr"
(as Ronny Howard)
Gentle Ben Jody Cutler "Green-Eyed Bear"
(as Ronny Howard)
A Boy Called Nuthin Richie `Nuthin'´ Caldwell (as Ronny Howard)
1968 Mayberry R.F.D. Opie Taylor "Andy and Helen Get Married"
(as Ronny Howard)
The F.B.I. Jess Orkin "The Runaways"
(as Ronny Howard)
1969 Judd for the Defense Phil Beeton "Between the Dark and the Daylight"
(as Ronny Howard)
Daniel Boone Luke "A Man Before His Time"
(as Ronny Howard)
1968–1969 Lancer Various roles 2 episodes
(as Ronny Howard)
1969 Gunsmoke Jamie "Charlie Noon"
(as Ronny Howard)
Land of the Giants Jodar "Genus At Work"
(as Ronny Howard)
1970 Smoke Chris (as Ronny Howard)
The Headmaster Tony Landis "Will the Real Mother of Tony Landis Please Stand Up?"
Lassie Gary "Gary Here Comes Glory!" Part 1 & 2
(as Ronny Howard)
1971–1972 The Smith Family Bob Smith 39 episodes
1972 Love, American Style Richard 'Richie' Cunningham "Love and the Happy Days"
The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Cory Merlino "Discovery at Fourteen"
(as Ronny Howard)
1973 M*A*S*H Private Walter/ Wendell Peterson "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet"
(as Ronny Howard)
1974 The Waltons Seth Turner "The Gift"
The Migrants Lyle Barlow
Locusts Donny Fletcher
1974–1984 Happy Days Richard 'Richie' Cunningham 171 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy
1975 Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn
1976 I'm a Fool Andy
1976–1979 Laverne & Shirley Richard 'Richie' Cunningham 2 episodes
1980 Act of Love Leon Cybulkowski
The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang Richard 'Richie' Cunningham (voice)
"King for a Day"
1981 Bitter Harvest Ned De Vries
Fire on the Mountain Lee Mackie
1983 When Your Lover Leaves (uncredited)
1986 Return to Mayberry Opie Taylor
1999 Frasier Stephen voice
"Good Samaritan"
2003–2006 Arrested Development Narrator (uncredited)


  1. Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts
  2. "Ron Howard Biography (1954-)". Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  3. Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts.
  4. "Angels & Demons IMDb credits". Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  5. "London Film Festival". 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  6. Lynette Rice. "Universal to produce three films and TV series based on Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower'". 
  7. IMDb Biography for Ron Howard
  8. Cowan, Alison Leigh (2006-03-13). "Land of the Big Puts 'Too Big' To the Test". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  9. Dumas, Timothy (1998). Greentown: murder and mystery in Greenwich, America's wealthiest community. Arcade Publishing. p. 187. ISBN 1559704411. 
  10. Clemence, Sarah (2005-11-18). "Most Expensive Gated Communities 2005". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  11. "Ron Howard’s Call to Action"

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:IMDb name

Template:Ron Howard Template:AcademyAwardBestDirector 2001-2020

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