‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Andy Griffith Knew Ron Howard Was a Star

by Joe Rutland
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When it comes to The Andy Griffith Show, fans have watched Griffith and Ron Howard work together as father and son for years. Their on-screen chemistry is still beloved to this very day. But Griffith had an eye for talent and knew when someone would be a good fit for the show. Yet when it comes to Howard, he knew that the young actor at the time was a star. We turn back to Griffith talking about a specific instance involving the then-young Ronnie Howard, as he went by at the time.

Andy Griffith of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Says He ‘Liked Ronnie Very Much’

“Each Thursday, all the cast members got together and read the script,” Griffith says in an interview with Hollywood Outbreak. “Ronnie piped up one time and said, ‘I don’t think a little child would say it that way.’ And I said, ‘Well, how would you say it?’ And he told me and I said, ‘Let’s go with it.’

“So we had a good time,” Griffith continues. “I liked Ronnie very much. He was a very good child actor, very fine. Sometimes when he was real little, when his energy level dropped, and he wasn’t concentrating too much, you’d see a hand come around the corner and thump him on the head. That was his father, his father Rance.” Rance Howard would have a role in the NBC movie Return to Mayberry. Yet he would bring Ronnie and his brother, Clint Howard, to the show’s set. Clint would play Little Leon in a few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Lead Actor Would Keep Young Star’s Energy Up If His Dad Wasn’t Around

Griffith also recalls getting into the swing of things sometimes, too. “And then a little later, if we were working and his father wasn’t close by and his energy would drop,” he said, “all I’d have to do is say, ‘Ronnie, energy, think’ and he’d be…that was just as a little child, you know.” Howard played Opie Taylor for eight seasons and has gone on to become an award-winning director in the movie world.

Howard would reflect, though, on his parents protecting him during his Hollywood upbringing. “I looked to my parents,” he writes in a memoir that the brothers wrote and published. “I saw how they chose to live and how happy they were. And I redoubled my efforts to keep on working, to stay in show business beyond my boyhood. Not just because the money was good, but because I recognized how much I truly loved acting and learning about directing.” For Ron Howard, family and his work are two of the most meaningful things in his life to this very day.

Outsider.com