‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Andy Starred Alongside Ron Howard’s Dad and Brother in His Final Movie

by Matthew Wilson

Andy Griffith had some familiar company for his final on-screen performance. He appeared alongside Ron Howard’s father and brother, Rance and Clint Howard.

Griffith was in his late 80s when he starred in “Play the Game” as Grandpa Joe. The 2009 film is a romantic comedy with Griffith in one of the starring roles. Griffith played a widower, who connected with his grandson over the topic of love. His grandson gave him some romance advice that turned Griffith into a player and ladies man at his local retirement community. Meanwhile, Griffith lent a bit of age-old wisdom to his grandson about finding a partner to spend his life with. Together they learn a bit from each other.

Rance and Clint Howard had small roles in the film as Mervin and Dick. But it’s nice to see, Griffith didn’t forget the Howard family after all those years. Their roles lend a bit of full circle to Griffith’s career. The actor would pass away a few years after the film at his home in North Carolina.

Rance Howard on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Meanwhile, both Clint and Rance Howard actually appeared alongside Griffith on “The Andy Griffith Show” back in the 1960s. Of course, Ron Howard starred on the show as Griffith’s son Opie for eight seasons. But his brother Clint appeared during five episodes of the series. He played one of Opie’s neighborhood friends Leon.

Meanwhile, Rance showed up in a variety of different roles on the show. He appeared in a total of four episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Rance appeared most notably in the episode “Barney and the Governor” as the state governor’s chauffeur. Rance’s character has a run-in with Deputy Barney Fife during the episode. The episode revolved around Fife writing the state governor a parking ticket after he illegally parked.

Rance Howard also appeared in both “A Black Day for Mayberry” and “The Rumor” as a party guest. Additionally, he played a bus driver in “Cousin Virgil.”

Throughout his career, Rance Howard appeared in many different films and TV shows, working until he passed away in 2017. He passed that work ethic down to his sons Ron and Clint, who then passed it to their children as well. Meanwhile, Griffith and the Howards maintained a working relationship and friendship throughout his life. Director Ron Howard reflected fondly on Griffith after he passed away in 2012.