Ron Howard: A Hollywood Career Shaped by Family

Ron Howard is a household name across America. From his early years as a child actor to his success as a director, his journey in Hollywood is truly remarkable. But what many people don’t know is the story behind his career and how his parents played a vital role in shaping it.

Ron’s parents, Rance Howard and Jean Speegle, were entertainers themselves. They understood the upsides and downsides of the industry, and they wanted their sons to have a normal life alongside their Hollywood fame. In their book, “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” Ron and his brother Clint described the sacrifices their parents made to ensure their sons’ well-being.

Jean Speegle, despite a tragic accident that impaired her movement, pursued her passion for acting and eventually met Rance Howard at the University of Oklahoma. The couple fell in love and decided to pursue their shared love for acting together. They even worked for a children’s theater touring company, with Jean dressing up as various princesses and Rance playing the role of a huntsman or a prince.

After getting married, Rance and Jean left the touring theater company and focused on starting a family. They welcomed their sons Ron and Clint into the world. Jean continued to act for a little while longer before deciding to give it up to focus on raising her boys. Rance, on the other hand, continued acting and managed his sons’ careers.

Ron landed a role on “The Andy Griffith Show” at the young age of six, and his father was there to guide and support him. Clint also had roles in projects like “Bonanza,” “Star Trek,” and “Gentle Ben.” Their parents carefully managed their sons’ earnings, ensuring they would benefit from them later in life.

The Howard boys had a modest lifestyle in Hollywood. Their parents kept them grounded and prevented the negative influences of fame from overshadowing their childhood. They refrained from extravagant spending, and their father even turned down the opportunity to start a clothing line to protect their boys.

Growing up in Hollywood was not easy, but Rance made sure his sons were protected and looked after their mental health. He intervened when older child actors used inappropriate language on set, reminding them of his son’s age and the importance of using appropriate language.

Years later, when Ron was directing “Apollo 13,” his father suggested casting his mother for one of the roles. Ron felt both proud and emotional during his mother’s audition. He was not only proud of her but also grateful to give her a chance to display her acting skills. The movie was a massive hit, earning multiple awards, including two Academy Awards.

Sadly, Jean passed away in 2000 due to heart and respiratory problems, followed by Rance’s death in 2017. The loss of both parents was difficult for the Howard brothers. In order to process their grief and honor their parents’ memories, they wrote their book, “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family.”

Clint and Ron Howard are not only talented individuals but also remarkable human beings. They exemplify the importance of family and staying grounded despite the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Let’s celebrate their accomplishments and share their story to inspire others.


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