Ron Howard, or Ronald William Howard, is a successful director known for a number of famous films like Apollo 13 (1995) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). He was born on March 1, 1954 in Duncan, Oklahoma (Cameron, n. d. ). The son of Rance and Jean Howard, actors themselves, it was not a surprise that Ron Howard started as an actor as well. His theatrical debut was when he was two years old in The Seven Year Itch, a theatrical Baltimore production, and appeared on screen in The Journey (1959) when he was aged five.
He went on and appeared as a child actor in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1962) and The Music Man (1962). However, he became more famous as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show, a comedy series that ran from 1960-1968. And when that series ended, he was cast in another one, The Smith Family (1971), which lasted only a season. He did not stop there, though, because he later starred in a George Lucas hit, American Graffiti (1973), Happy Days (1974), and The Shootist (1976) (All Movie Guide, 2007). It was in his early twenties when he started directing films.
At first, he had a really hard time since apparently it was really hard to shift from a child actor to film director. In an interview in 1997, Howard relates that during that time people were giving him patronizing pats and telling him “Hey, hang in there. In another ten or 15 years, I’m sure somebody will give you a chance to direct. ” He was not content with that, however, and thus worked hard by making student films and writing as a film graduate of University of Southern California, L. A. , and becoming one of the lead actors in Happy Days.
Finally, Producer Roger Corman let him direct Grand Theft Auto (1977) on the deal that Howard would also act in it. He accepted the job and even co-wrote the screen play with his father (“Ron Howard Interview,” 1997). The movie garnered positive reviews, a terrific profit and the chance Howard needed to prove he had the capability to direct. Since then, he has moved on to direct greater projects. He also became a producer, then an executive producer and later was able establish his own company, Imagine Films, together with Brian Grazer (“Ron Howard Interview,” 1997).
Other from the films mentioned above, he has also directed Nigh Shift (1982), Splash (1984), Cocoon (1985), Willow (1988), Parenthood (1989), Backdraft (1991), Far and Away (1992), The Paper (1994), Ransom (1996), The Grinch (2000), The Missing (2003), Cinderella Man (2005) and The Da Vinci Code (2006). He is also set to direct future films like Frost/Nixon (2008), Angels and Demons (2009) and The Emperor’s Children (2009) (AMG “Filmography,” 2007).
And as can be noticed from the above movies, Howard has worked, meaning produced, acted and/or directed, in a lot of different genres like comedy, which he was originally known for, drama, documentary, family, adventure, thriller, western, short, mystery, biography, crime, music, romance, action, fantasy, sci-fi, animation, history, war, news, sport, musical, reality-tv, and horror (“Genres,” 2007). And for all the hard work he’s done, he’s properly garnered a number of distinctions and awards. From the Academy Awards, he won Best Director and Best Picture for The Beautiful Mind (2001).
For the same movie, he got a nomination for Best Director from the American Film Institute. Then, in the British Academy Awards, he also got nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for the same movie. He won Best Director for the same movie and a Best Director nomination for Cinderella Man (2005) from the Broadcast Film Critics. Then, from the Directors Guild of America, he won Best Director for both A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13 (1995) and got a nomination for Best Director for Cocoon (1985).
He was also given a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director, A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13, and Best Supporting Actor, Shootist (1976) (Yahoo! Movies, 2007). In addition, he also received a (USA) National Medal of Arts in 2003 from the National Endowment of the Arts (Cameron, n. d. ). After reading Ron Howard’s brief biography, works and achievements, one has to wonder what it is about him that has made him stay and become successful in the film industry for almost his whole life. Well, as a person, he is characteristically a very diligent and perseverant man.
After all, the industry is not an easy world to maneuver. A guy that doesn’t have a strong character cannot survive the criticisms and disappointments that are associated with Hollywood. And of course, Howard certainly had a number of these when a few of his films certainly didn’t do as well as expected. for Another characteristic is Howard’s trust. For most of his outputs, he has worked with almost always the same people, writers, and producers. Thus, it cannot be helped that critics have pointed out that some of his works may have a tad of similarity with his other works.
That is, however, one of the characteristics of Howard’s films. An example of this is he has almost always co-produced with Grazer and has often worked with actor Russel Crowe. He has also cast his own family members, especially his father, from time to time. Another characteristic of Howard is that he was actually brave, took chances and is flexible, despite critics saying the opposite. A manifestation of this is his participation in a variety of genres. He did not limit himself.
Even when he probably knew he could have it made in the comedy genre, he did not stop there. He delved in other genres and was able to produce successful films. Howard also has a positive attitude towards criticism and can take it in stride. He understood that one will face a lot of criticism and rejection in the industry. He also realized that one cannot just let the positive criticism fill one’s head. Thus, even when it does hurt, he also listened to bad reviews and comments. However, he also believed that there should be a balance.
And due to this, he tried to work as a self confident person that knows what he can do and does what he has to do, functioning as he should and yet still listening to other people and realizing that at times, he can make mistakes. Lastly, Howard seems to be a humble man who does not take everything and everyone around him for granted. This is seen from the way he talked in his interview. It certainly seems that when Howard and the whole crew are faced with a problem, he does not seem to be so proud as to impose his own solutions since he is the director.
Howard recognizes that everyone does have different solutions and point of views and thus it seems that he also include the inputs of his co-workers. This character was probably recognized by Russel Crow when he said, upon acceptance of his Golden Globe award for The Beautiful Mind, that Howard “. . . allowed actors to be adventurous, take risks, and explore. I also want to thank him for his humility, his consummate skill, and his honor as a man. ” (CBS News, 2002)