Ron Howard’s family is definitely one of the biggest acting dynasties in Hollywood. However the former Happy Days actor has recently revealed some sad news that has changed their lives forever.
Before Ron became a successful director, however, he began his acting career that made him successful in his own right. His big break came when he was very young. Ron was only six years old, in fact, when he first appeared as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. His stardom rose even further, when he landed the iconic role of Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. Cunningham, is the character he is most associated with to this day.
Making A Name For Himself
What’s more, Ron also made a name for himself on the silver screen. He won coveted roles in films such as American Graffiti, The Shootist and Grand Theft Auto – the last of which he also directed. And, what’s more he would garner even more critical acclaim behind the camera. He picked up both Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, and Academy Awards nominations for 2008’s Frost/Nixon. His box office hit movies as a director, meanwhile, include Cocoon, Apollo 13 and The Da Vinci Code.
In The Genes
Ron isn’t the only actor in his family. His mother Jean, gained critical acclaim for more than 30 different TV shows – such as Married… with Children, Grace Under Fire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her movie career only began in the mid ’70s, however – almost two decades after her son had made his big-screen debut in Frontier Woman.
Frontier Woman is also the film that gave Ron’s father Rance his first big screen acting role also. Born in 1928, the head of the Howard clan began performing with a children’s touring theater company before sharing the stage with Henry Fonda in a production of Mr. Roberts. He also appeared alongside Ron in The Andy Griffith Show and youngest son Clint in Gentle Ben.
Patriarch To Be Proud Of
He proved that this family was full of talent, with more than 100 big-screen credits to his name. Some of those parts, are actually in films that his son directed, a real family affair. Rance cameoed as a minister in Apollo 13, and also portrays Cardinal Beck in Angels and Demons. However, Rance also wasn’t opposed to appearing in movies with Clint, either. Appropriately, the elder man plays his son’s on-screen father in dramea Apple Seed, due to be released in 2018.
Following In Family Footsteps
Two of Ron’s children have also followed in their father’s footsteps. Bryce Dallas Howard has displayed her acting talents in The Village, As You Like It and Jurassic World. Bryce’s younger sister Paige, is notable for her performances in Adventureland and The Employer.
Wife In On The Act
Ron’s wife Cheryl has even briefly appeared in many of his movies, with small roles in Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and Angels & Demons. But Cheryl, who wed the director in 1975, has more than one talent. In 2005, for example, she published her first novel: a thriller named In the Face of Jinn.
Tragically, however, the Howard family suffered a huge loss in November 2017 when their patriarch passed away. And Ron revealed the sad news about his father on social media. “Clint and I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. Today he passed at 89,” he wrote in a touching post on Twitter.
Ron highlighted the amazing and unique qualities that made Rance not only a great actor but also a great man. He continued, “[Rance] stood especially tall for his ability to balance ambition with great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history.”
Paying Their Respects
Ron wasn’t the only famous member of the Howard family to pay their respects publicly to Rance. Bryce Dallas also wrote on his social media revealing her late grandfather’s favorite poem: Henry Van Dyke’s “Gone From My Sight.” That post was accompanied by the words, “[Rance] could recite it from heart.” A huge loss for the world.
After Rance’s death, other celebrities spoke out to share their reminiscences of the 89-year-old. Even Russell Crowe, who had worked with both Ron and Rance on A Beautiful Mind, was one of them. Crowe wrote in a touching tribute, “He was a fine man indeed was Rance Howard. Fine man, fine actor. Being in his company was always a pleasure.”
Meanwhile, Josh Gad revealed how Rance had welcomed him with open arms upon his arrival in Los Angeles. He also tweeted, “Today we lost one of the greats: #RanceHoward, who I was proud to call a personal friend… He was a legend, both as a person & performer.” It is sad that Hollywood has seen the death of so many greats this year.
And filmmaker Joe Dante, who had edited Grand Theft Auto, the 1977 film directed by Ron and co-written by Rance, also had warm words to say about the late star. He would describe Rance as “a stand-up guy who worked till the end” and “one of my favorite go-to actors.” In addition, producer Larry Karaszewski, who had worked alongside Rance on Ed Wood, would hail the veteran performer as “one of the true gentlemen in this business.”
Rance had also been honored by his loved ones before his death. In particular, Ron paid a heartwarming homage to his dad at a premiere of one of Rance’s last movies, Broken Memories. The film stars the late actor as an Alzheimer’s sufferer whose son is attempting to deal with his dad’s illness. And the screening Ron attended was staged to coincide with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, which takes place in the U.S. each November.
A Respect That Will Never Die
During the star studded event, Ron told the The Hollywood Reporter how much he respected his father. “He has an undying love of the process, which has made him appreciate every day on a film or television set,” the director noted.
Dad’s Work Inspired His Own
Ron went on, “[Rance has] never lost the youthful excitement for being a part of a process that tells a story that reaches audiences in different ways.” And, as it happens, his dad’s approach also seemed to have inspired his own work. “That always rubbed off on me, that joy of being lucky enough to be among the storytellers,” he revealed.
A Great Human Being
Bryce was of course also at the premiere, and when asked, she described her grandfather as “the greatest human being on the planet.” She added, “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. He’s an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life.”
A Touchy Subject
Broken Memories itself, touches on a subject that Rance unfortunately had first-hand experience of. He lost his second wife to Alzheimer’s after wrapping on the film; Judy Howard, who had married the star in 2001, passed away in January 2017. Rance had previously enjoyed a 51-year marriage to first wife Jean, who died in 2000.
Rance’s own death would later be revealed as having been caused by heart failure, with a West Nile virus infection ruled to have been a contributing factor. Those mourning his passing, however, can still see the deceased actor again on the big screen in forthcoming movies Old Soldier, The Christ Slayer and Apple Seed – as well as in the many other films in which the star shone bright and warmed the heart of fans throughout his 60-year career.