Ron Howard Biography

PHOTO: Ron Howard

American actor and director, Ron Howard was born into an acting family. His mother, Jean Howard, studied acting in New York and his father, Rance, at the University of Oklahoma.

He appeared in his first movie, 'Frontier Woman' (1955), at 18 months old, and made his stage debut aged two. Howard was soon a regular on 'Playhouse 90', and appeared in the film 'The Journey' in 1959.

Cast as Opie on the 'Andy Griffith's Show' in 1960, he became nationally famous, growing up onscreen during the 1960s. Protected by his father, he maintained a state school education, and began to dabble in amateur filmmaking.

In 1971, he starred opposite Henry Fonda in 'The Smith Family', who encouraged his ambition. As a result, he landed a role in George Lucas' 1973 teen film 'American Graffiti'. The film spawned the 1950s revival craze, and, ultimately, the hit show, 'Happy Days', in 1974, in which Howard became a superstar, playing Richie Cunningham.

Appearing in films on the side - such as the John Wayne movie 'The Shootist' (1976), Howard persuaded producer Roger Corman to let him direct and star in 'Grand Theft Auto' in 1977, for which he also co-wrote the screenplay.

Howard's first directorial hit was with 'Nightshift' in 1982, and he formed Imagine Films Entertainment in 1985. With 'Splash' for Disney in 1984, featuring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, Howard became a top director.

Movies such as 'Cocoon' (1985) and 'Willow'(1988) confirmed his status, and, after the flops of 'Backdraft'(1991) and 'Far And Away'(1992), he came back with the blockbuster 'Apollo 13' in 1995, winning a Director's Guild Association Outstanding Feature award for the movie.

Following 'EdTV' in 1999, Howard directed Jim Carrey in 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas'. In 2001, his movie 'A Beautiful Mind' took home Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Director. Starring Russell Crowe in the lead role, with Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Christopher Plummer and Paul Bettany playing supporting characters, the movie, based on a Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, was also a commercial success.

Howard's 2003 western thriller 'The Missing' saw the Apache language spoken by actors in the movie, while 2005's 'Cinderella Man' explored the life of heavyweight boxing champion James J Braddock. Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' marked another collaboration with writer Akiva Goldsman.

The film, based on the worldwide bestselling 2003 novel of the same title, was naturally controversial given its subject matter, but this only helped to catapult it to great box office success.

The talented producer went on to work on historical drama 'Frost/Nixon' in 2008, before returning with another movie based on Brown's work 'Angels & Demons' the following year. A prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code', the film was also commercially successful.

In 2011, he turned his hand to comedy directing Vince Vaughan and Kevin James in 'The Dilemma' about a man who finds out his best friend's wife is having an affair. He is currently directing 'Rush', which is set for release in 2013. It is a biography of Formula One champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Just weeks after the accident, he races his rival James Hunt.

Although he is known for his talent behind the scenes, Howard occasionally acts too and has appeared in a number of movies in various roles. However, many of these parts, including in 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' and 'A Beautiful Mind', were uncredited.

Howard was also the uncredited narrator of the quirky comedy 'Arrested Development' between 2003 and 2006.

Despite more than five decades of success in the film and television industry, Howard has remained committed to his family life and has been married to high-school sweetheart Cheryl Alley since 1975.

They have four children together including actress Bryce Dallas Howard, born 2 March 1981, and twin daughters Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard, born in 1985. Their son Reed Cross Howard was born in 1987.

Howard became a grandfather for the first time in 2007 when daughter Bryce gave birth to her son with husband Seth Gabel Theodore. On 19 January 2012, he became a grandfather for the second time when Bryce gave birth to Beatrice.

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