Ron Howard has become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars since playing Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. Not only is he a world-renowned classic TV star, but he’s also an Oscar-winning director. And he owes some of that success to Andy Griffith.
When Griffith passed away in 2012, Howard took a minute to share just how influential his mentor was.
“Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy,” he wrote on Twitter.
But before the infamous Mayberry sheriff died, Ron Howard was already singing his praises.
In a 2010 interview with PopEater, the Apollo 13 director explained that Griffith took him under his wing and used every opportunity to teach the young star about both the industry and life.
“He treated me really well. But he made it a learning experience, not in a stern, taskmaster kind of a way. But I was really allowed a real insight into creativity and how things work and why some scenes were funny and others weren’t. That insight has served me really well over the years,” he shared. “Andy was really kind to me, always playful and fun. But, by the same token, he wanted to get the work done.”
Andy Griffith Explained How he Knew that Ron Howard was Destined to be a Star
Andy Griffith went out of his way to lead Ron Howard because he knew he was destined to be a major star one day. And in an interview with Hollywood Outbreak, Griffith recalled the day he saw young Howard’s potential.
As he explained, the entire cast would have a read-through each Thursday. And early on in the series, “Ronnie,” as he called him, was brave enough to speak up about a line.
“I don’t think a little child would say it that way,” Howard told the producers.
“Well, how would you say it?” Griffith asked. “And he told me and I said, ‘Let’s go with it.’”
From that day on, the Matlock star remembers always having “a good time” with his on-screen son. And he admitted that he was incredibly fond of Howard.
“He was a very good child actor, very fine,” he added.
But Andy Griffith did admit that Ron Howard was still a kid and had the same child-like issues. Most notably, he’d run out of energy and lose focus while filming.
When he’d have problems, Giffith would gently remind him to pay attention. But if Howard’s father was on set, he was in for a much ruder awakening.
“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,” Griffith added.