How Ron Howard Realized His Life Dream During ‘Happy Days’

by Joe Rutland

While Happy Days was a big hit for ABC and lead actor Ron Howard, it ultimately played a role in steering him back toward his dream.

Howard, who played Richie Cunnigham in the ABC sitcom, talked about it in an interview with Graham Norton of The Graham Norton Show on the BBC.

“More than anything, it did two things,” Howard said after talking about being overshadowed by the popularity of Fonzie, played by Henry Winkler.

“I’d been in this rarified world as this kind of kid actor who was a star,” the Happy Days star said. “I did recognize that this is a business and it’s a tough business. And it’s competitive and you have to understand from all perspectives.”

Howard, who had gained an audience as Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show, said “it reminded me that I needed to, even though I was on the show, had a responsibility to the show, what I really ought to do for myself is pursue my real dream.”

What dream is that? Howard said it “was to be in charge of my own productions, my own stories that I wanted to tell and be the filmmaker.”

“I’m not sure that I would have taken that initiative to the level I needed to finally get to do it,” Howard said.

Ron Howard Says He Doesn’t Often Reflect on Past Accomplishments

While Ron Howard definitely has had a lot of success, he’s not one to spend time in the past. The Happy Days star talked about it a little in response to a fan’s tweet.

Howard happened to be on Twitter on Sunday morning. A fan sent him a tweet complimenting him on the audiobook of his and brother Clint Howard’s memoir.

The fan asked for a physical copy to check out some photographs. But Howard quickly responded by saying thank you yet adding he doesn’t often look to the past.

Howard writes, “Well, thank you. It was a fascinating experience going through all those photos as I’m not the type who pauses much to look back. Glad you enjoyed.”

‘Happy Days’ Star Offers Words of Condolence Over Death Of Actor Gavin O’Herlihy

Obviously, Howard was a big star on Happy Days. Yet he took time out recently and acknowledged the death of one-time co-star Gavin O’Herlihy.

If the actor’s name does not ring a bell, then maybe the name Chuck Cunningham might. See, O’Herlihy was one of two actors to play Chuck. That character only appeared for one season.

Howard tweeted, “RIP Gavan. I knew him as the 1st of 2 Chucks on #HappyDays & then as Airk in #Willow where I had the pleasure of directing him. A talented actor with a big free spirit.”