Date of Birth: March 1, 1954
Ron Howard was born into a theatrical family in Oklahoma. His father had realized a boyhood dream of acting by attending the University of Oklahoma and majoring in drama, and his mother attended acting school in New York.
Ron (then known as Ronny) was in his first movie at the age of only 18 months in Frontier Woman (1955), although his first real part was at the age of four. Soon a regular on Playhouse 90 (1956), he was cast as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), and later moved from a child in Mayberry to America's teenager, Richie Cunningham in Happy Days (1974).
The life of a child star is certainly not routine, but Ron's parents wanted his life to be as normal as possible. He attended public schools and at age 15, even took nine months off to play a basketball season.
Soon, however, Ron started balding and, at about the same time, quit performing. He was 26. He made a highly successful transition to producer-director with films like Splash (1984) and Cocoon (1985).
He had begun shooting films at age 15 with a Super-8 camera, and after high school, spent two years in the film program at the University of Southern California. But he checked out, feeling he could learn more from actual experience than in class.
That first film was the hardest to finance, but he struck a deal with Roger Corman—he would star in Eat My Dust! (1976) and Corman would produce Grand Theft Auto (1977), which Ron would direct (he also wrote the script and had a starring role). It was a success, and his directorial career was jump-started.
Today, Imagine Films, the production company he runs with Brian Grazer, is one of the most lucrative and respected in Hollywood. The early '90s were not particularly kind to Ron, but his 1995 film, Apollo 13 (1995), paired a compelling story with the current box-office golden boy, Tom Hanks, and everyone, including critics and moviegoers, was pleased. His next project would be the Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), starring Jim Carrey.
Ron's hard work finally paid off in 2002 when his film A Beautiful Mind (2001), starring Russell Crowe and Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Connelly, won him his first Academy Awards, one for Best Director and one for Best Picture. He has since directed one of the most highly anticipated films of 2006—The Da Vinci Code (2006) starring Tom Hanks as well as the sequel, Angels & Demons (2009). In 2009 he received his second Academy Award nomination for Frost/Nixon (2008).
Two years later, he directed In the Heart of the Sea, which profiles the sinking of a New England whaling ship in 1820. The real-life story would later inspire the classic 1851 novel Moby-Dick.
Ron's more recent works include the documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years and the action adventure Inferno (both 2016). The film follows Ron's earlier projects The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, and stars Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones. In 2017, he signed on to direct the Star Wars spin-off movie Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Married since 1975 to his high school sweetheart Cheryl (also a redhead), Ron is enjoying his life as one of Hollywood's top directors. He has four children and three of them are named after the places where they were conceived: Bryce Dallas Howard in Dallas and twins Paige Carlyle Howard and Jocelyn Carlyle Howard at the Hotel Carlyle in New York. He also has a son, Reed Cross Howard. Both Paige Carlyle and Bryce Dallas have followed in their father's footsteps by becoming actors.
Filmography (director):Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Filmography (actor):Osmosis Jones (2001)