Though he grew up to be a successful director, Ron Howard first rose to fame as an actor, playing precocious redhead Opie Taylor on the 1960s program “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Howard, whose parents both acted, was on the stage from an early age, acting in his father’s summer theater productions. He was six when he began playing Opie, a role he inhabited until the show’s conclusion after eight seasons when Howard was 14.
After appearing in George Lucas' seminal 1973 film “American Graffiti,” the 20-year-old Howard was cast as teenager Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days.” During that show’s run, Howard began directing, and in 1977, made his feature film directorial debut with “Grand Theft Auto.” In 1980, he left “Happy Days” and started directing television feature films under an exclusive three-year contract with NBC.
It was then that he met Brian Grazer, an up-and-coming producer with whom he started collaborating at Paramount. Together, they came up with the idea for “Night Shift,” a comedy about a prostitution ring being run out of a morgue that reunited Howard with “Happy Days” actor Henry Winkler. In 1986, Grazer and Howard formed their own production company, Imagine Entertainment.
Howard’s next film, also produced by Grazer, was the hit mermaid romance “Splash,” starring Tom Hanks. He went on to direct “Cocoon,” “Gung Ho,” “Parenthood,” “Backdraft” and “Far and Away.”
Three years later he found major success with “Apollo 13,” which starred Hanks as one of the astronauts involved in a dangerous NASA mission during the 1970s. The film earned nine Academy Awards nominations, including one for best picture.
In 2001, he received an Oscar for best director for his work on “A Beautiful Mind,” starring Russell Crowe. The movie also won the prize for best picture of the year.
In recent years, Howard received a National Medal of Art, presented by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. His 2006 film, “The Da Vinci Code,” again starring Hanks, became one of the top-grossing films of that year, and the 2009 sequel “Angels & Demons” also performed well at the box office.
|2001||Best Picture||A Beautiful Mind||Win*|
|2001||Best Director||A Beautiful Mind||Win|