Ron HowardActor / Filmmaker
Born: 1 March 1954
Birthplace: Duncan, Oklahoma
Best known as: Movie director who was Opie on The Andy Griffith Show
Ron Howard was a TV star who grew up in front of the cameras, then gave up acting to become a successful director and producer of Oscar-caliber movies including A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Apollo 13 (1995). From a family of actors, Howard began working in television in the late 1950s. Throughout the '60s he was known to viewers as Opie Taylor, the young son on the folkys hit series The Andy Griffith Show (1960-68). During the '70s he was teenager Richie Cunningham on the '50s nostalgia TV series Happy Days (1974-80). He also had a film career, with notable roles as a boy -- 1962's The Music Man and 1963's The Courtship of Eddie's Father -- and as a young man, including American Graffiti (1972, directed by George Lucas) and The Shootist (1976, starring John Wayne). In the 1980s Howard stopped acting and began a respected career as a movie director and producer. His films include Night Shift (1984, with Michael Keaton); Splash (1984, starring Daryl Hannah); Cocoon (1986); Willow (1989); Parenthood (1991, with Steve Martin); Far and Away (1994, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman); Cinderella Man (2005, starring Russell Crowe); and The DaVinci Code (2006, based on bestseller by Dan Brown). A Beautiful Mind earned Howard an Oscar as best director; the film also won the Oscar as best picture and the best supporting actress award for Jennifer Connelly. Howard's production company, Imagine Entertainment (with Brian Grazer), has also backed several successful television shows, including Felicity (starring Keri Russell), 24 (starring Kiefer Sutherland) and Arrested Development.
Extra credit: Howard's brother Clint Howard starred in the boy-meets-bear TV series Gentle Ben (1967-69), and as an adult has appeared in many of Ron's movies.
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