‘Happy Days’ Star Ron Howard Reveals His Father Made His Most Difficult Film Even Harder

by Samantha Whidden

Although his film “Far and Away” became one of his successful film projects, Ron Howard revealed his father, Rance, made one scene way more difficult than it really needed to be.  

While promoting his latest film “13 Lives” on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Ron Howard spoke about his father’s impact on “Far and Away.”

“We had 750 people and horses lined up. We were going to fire a cannon,” Ron Howard recalled. He also said that the crew had 13 cameras – two in the air, cameras dug in everywhere, and we were going to have this land race, and of course, it’s dangerous.”

However, Ron Howard’s father stated he wasn’t going to miss that reenactment. “He says, ‘100 years ago, I had three ancestors who rode in that race. 100 years later, my son, my firstborn, is directing a movie about it. I’m acting in it. I just said, ‘Dad, get your horse.’ And, uh, he’s in there. He’s in there.”

Directed and co-written by Ron Howard, “Far and Away” is about a young Irish couple who flee to the U.S., but subsequently, struggle to obtain land and prosper freely. The 1992 film starred Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Thomas Gibson. 

Ron Howard’s father appeared in a lot of his son’s films, including “Apollo 13,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “A Beautiful Mind.” He tragically passed away in 2017 at the age of 89. 

Ron and Clint Howard Say Their Father Was Very Protective of Their Childhoods 

While speaking to Fatherly in December 2021, Ron Howard and his brother Clint opened up about how their father was very protective of their childhoods. 

“I vividly remember an instance where some crew members were joking around the language was getting kind of blue,” Ron stated. “And they were sort of including me, because like 10. I wasn’t a toddler. But, I remember Dad saying, ‘Fellas, Ron is 10 years old. This is not the locker room.’ He literally shut that down. He wasn’t a tough guy, but he stood for something that people could recognize as integrity.”

Also speaking about their father’s passing, Clint stated that he and his brother wrote in the book “The Boys: A Memoir of Family and Hollywood,” about how things were rocky for a bit. “After Dad died, we were orphans. I don’t do dying parents very well. I mean, I didn’t.”

Clint went on to explain that while he didn’t freak out or anything over his father’s passing, he went numb. “I don’t believe I really grieved properly. And when that was happening, boy it felt good to see my big brother… With [the book], Ron felt like a good way to honor our parents.”