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The Howards
Rance Howard in 2007's "Ghost Town: The Movie."
Ron Howard on "Happy Days."
Bryce Dallas Howard in 2011's "The Help."

Actor and Oscar-winning director Ron Howard's first role, at the ripe old age of 18 months, was as an uncredited extra in the 1956 movie Frontier Woman, a movie his father, character actor Rance Howard, was in. In 1960, Ron was cast as "Opie" on The Andy Griffith Show. His father was in the episode of Danny Thomas's show Make Room For Daddy that introduced the Andy Griffith characters, and he appeared in several episodes of the series.

Ron's younger brother, Clint Howard, is a character actor like his dad, and he has been quite successful at it, racking up more than 200 screen credits. Clint's first roles as a child actor were in several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, including one episode that his father appeared in. When Clint starred as Dennis Weaver's son in the TV series Gentle Ben (1967-69), his dad had a recurring role. In 1971, Rance and Clint appeared together in an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery. (Brother Ron had appeared in an episode of Serling's earlier series, The Twilight Zone.) In 1973, Clint starred alongside Henry Fonda in an Emmy Award-winning TV movie adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, in which Rance played the sheriff. All three Howard men appeared in the 1976 low-budget movie Eat My Dust, which starred Ron. Likewise, Rance and Clint both appeared in several episodes of Ron's sitcom Happy Days (1974-84).

Ron directed his first short film in 1969, which featured his dad and his brother, but which also featured the first on-screeen appearances of his non-actress mother, Jean Speegle Howard, and his non-actress future wife, Cheryl Howard, (whom he would marry in 1975). Two more short films followed starring family members. In 1977, in the middle of the highly successful run of Happy Days, Ron directed his first feature film, Grand Theft Auto, which he co-wrote with his father. Ron starred in the film, while Rance, Clint, and Cheryl all had parts, as did Marion Ross, who played Ron's mother on Happy Days, and Garry Marshall, the show's producer. Ron's first hit as a director, 1982's Night Shift, included a bit part for his brother and uncredited parts for Ron and his wife, as well as starring former Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler.  His second big hit, 1985's Cocoon, included parts for his brother and both of his parents. From that point forward, Ron went on to become one of the most successful producer/directors in Hollywood history, and undeniably the most nepotistic, with one or more family members appearing in almost every project.

Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron and Cheryl's first daughter, is an actress whose film credits include The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006), Spiderman 3 (2007), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), and The Help (2011). She appeared as an extra in Apollo 13 along with her mother and grandmother.

Bryce's sister Paige Howard appeared in the movie Adventureland (2009).

Sunday, February 15, 2009 1:43 pm
I always wondered about this Clint kid and how in the world he gets any parts. Now I know.
Submitted by: Cathy