Ron Howard became a star following his portrayal of “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Showat age 5. He continued his career in Hollywood by starring in Happy Days and became a very-well respected actor, as well as director.
Outside of the Hollywood spotlight, Howard is now celebrating 48 years of marriage to his wife, Cheryl Howard.
Born on March 1, 1954 in Duncan, Oklahoma, Ron Howard was a part of a very creative and theatrical family. His mother Jean was an actress, and his father, Rance, an actor and director.

Ron Howard – actor and director

At 18 months of age, Ron appeared in his first movie, Frontier Woman. At age 2 he made his stage debut in a production of The Seven Year Itch, and soon, more jobs offers came pouring in.
Howard starred in several television shows. When appearing in the CBS series Playhouse 90in 1959, a producer named Sheldon Leonard thought he was great. He went on to cast Ron Howard as “Opie” in his new series, The Andy Griffith Show, and it changed Howard’s life forever.

The TV series and the inhabitants of the fictional town named Mayberry became very famous and popular for the way they maintained the strict, moral code of the 1950s and 1960s.

Director Ron Howard kisses his wife Cheryl at the 74th Annual Academy Awards March 24, 2002 at The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
It remained a household favorite for 8 years, and still to this day, the legendary show remains a fan favorite.

Starring as Andy Taylor’s (Andy Griffith) son, Opie was a huge role for Howard. His parents had always been supportive of his acting career. In his early years, they told him that he didn’t have to act in those type of shows if he didn’t want to. However, once he got the part, their attitude changed.

“Remember how we always said, ‘You can do it if you want, but you don’t have to?’ Well if you start this, you can’t quit’,” Howard recalled his parents telling him. “You don’t have to do other parts on other shows, if you don’t want, but you’d have to keep doing this one.”

Ron Howard – “Opie”

Ron Howard understood what his parents meant – and he knew what he wanted to do.

I think it was pretty clear at that point that I was enjoying it, and I was good at it,” he said.

Not only did Ron Howard love doing The Andy Griffith Show, he was also a great actor.

Elinor Donahue – starring as the pharmacist Ellie Walker for 12 episodes – recalled working with Ron Howard. And she was really impressed.

“Ron Howard was the best child actor I had worked with,” Donahue said. “He just had something.”

He always knew his lines. He knew your lines as well,” she added. “Not the least bit bratty or ‘know-it-all’ or anything,” said Donahue. “A very nice boy.”

Working with Ron Howard was obviously a great thing for the rest of the cast. It can probably be tough having to handle younger children on set, but this wasn’t the case with Howard and Griffith.

Speaking with NPR, Howard explained that the two had a wonderful relationship on-screen.

“You know, they always have the kids in situation comedies be brats,” Howard said. “They really are kids that you kind of think, ‘God, somebody ought to just discipline that kid.’ But the Andy-Opie relationship was more of a real relationship, where when the kid gets out of line, the father does something about it.

Bullied because of “The Andy Griffith Show”

 

“And the kid respects the father instead of being just a wise guy all the time. And Andy really took to that, and it’s one of the things that differentiates it from what we’re accustomed to seeing on sitcoms.”

One might think that Ron Howard would become the popular boy in school following his great success on The Andy Griffith Show. But the reality was something completely else.

In his 2012 biography, Ron Howard revealed that he was very embarrassed talking about the fact that he was a child actor.

“Among my peers, I was embarrassed to be an actor,” Howard recalled. “It was not something to be talked about.

The Andy Griffith Show was the No. 1 show in the country, so I always knew there was something that I could do that was unusual and that I could function in an adult environment.

“I was the butt of a lot of jokes,” he added. “My character’s name, Opie, rhymes with dopey… I’d have to get into fights with people.”

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