Biographic by Steve McGarry for March 23, 2014
Biographic Steve McGarry Ron Howard Born in Duncan, Oklahoma, on March 1, 1954, the son of actor parents, Ron Howard was raised in Los Angeles. Having appeared on such TV shows as "The Twilight Zone" and "Dennis the Menace," he was cast as Opie Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show," which debuted in 1960 and ran for eight seasons. During the show's run, he also appeared in such movies as "The Music Man" and "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." He continued to rack up credits throughout his teens, most notably as Henry Fonda's son on the short0lived TV series "The Smith Family" and in a starring role alongside Richard Dreyfuss in the 1973 George Lucas movie "American Graffiti." 1974 saw the debut of the sitcom "Happy Days," in which Ron was cast in the starring role of Richie Cunningham, a teen in late-1950s Milwaukee. The show was a huge hit, thanks in large part to the character Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, who was quickly given top billing with Howard. The show spawned a number of spin-offs, including "Laverne & Shirley" and "Mork & Mindy." The leather jacket worn by "The Fonz" now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution. In 1976, Howard Starred with John Wayne in "The Shootist" before making his directing debut the following year on the low-budget "Grand Theft Auto." He left the cast of "Happy Days" in 1980 to concentrate on directing and embarked on a run of successes that included "Night Shift," "Cocoon," "Splash," "Willow," "Parenthood," "Apollo 13," and saw 2001's "A Beautiful Mind" win Oscars for best director and best picture. His 2008 "Frost/Nixon" earned five Oscar nominations, including best director and best picture, and the likes of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels & Demons" were huge box-office hits. Imagine Entertainment, formed by Ron and producer Brian Grazer in 1986, has become one of Holloywood's most successful movie and TV production companies. In 2003, Congress awarded Ron Howard the Prestigious National Medal of Arts.