Ron Howard

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Born

3/1/1954 , Duncan, Oklahoma

Birth Name

Ronald William Howard

Gender

Male

Biography:

The world watched as Ron Howard grew up. And Howard responded by landing three distinct monster roles before his 21st birthday. When he was just a teenager, it was said of him, "If Ron Howard never works another day in his life, he will have accomplished more in his life than most household name stars."

Ron was born in Oklahoma to Jean Speegle and Rance Howard. Rance was a Drama major at the University of Oklahoma. Jean attended acting school in New York. Ron appeared in Frontier Women at age 18 months, and appeared in Playhouse 90 at age 2. He was introduced as a household name at age 6 when he played the inquisitive Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. The role proved bigger than the show, as his Opie character was re-cast in the parent show, The Danny Thomas Show, as well as the spin-off Gomer Pyle, USMC.

Two years later, at age 8, he was cast as Winthrop Peroo in The Music Man. It remains watched today in video. Maybe the average viewer would have a problem identifying the character Winthrop Peroo. But we all know that the kid brother is "the kid who plays Opie." And the strength of character required to play the Wells Fargo scene - pushing adults out of the way to take center stage mid song, and singing a lively solo out of dialect - ranks up there as one of the greatest casting marvels of all time.

Howard was cast as Steve Bolander, and worked with eventual partner Cindy Williams in American Graffiti, the movie that began the nerd glorification movement. A year later, he capstoned that movement, and spearheaded the movement himself, by playing Richie Cunningham for the first seven years of Happy Days.

Howard left Happy Days four years before the nerd glorification movement was completed. He turned his attention to Directing, rather than acting. His influence was so profound that fellow Happy Days nerds Anson Williams and Donny Most likewise abandoned acting in favor of directing. We now know that as Richie, Potsie and Ralph encouraged each other to "sit on it," that the "it" was the Director's chair - and all three heeded their advice to success.

Among Howard's directing credits were motion pictures, including Parenthood, A Beautiful Mind, and most recently The DaVinci Code. He also lent his voice as the narrator of the sitcom Arrested Development.

No matter how comprehensively any written biography on Ron Howard extends, several new chapters are waiting to be written.
  • © 1982 Ron Galella/WireImage.com
  • © 2006 Richard Lewis/WireImage.com
  • © 2006 George Pimentel/WireImage.com
  • © 2006 Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com
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