‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard Said Acting Experiences Showed He Didn’t Have ‘X-Factor’

by Will Shepard

Ron Howard went on “The Dan Patrick Show” in 2015 to talk about his career as a whole. He highlighted some amazing moments in his career. While he talks about his early days in acting on The Andy Griffith Show to playing  Richie Cunningham on Happy Days, one of the things he talked about was his acting.

It became clear to Ron Howard at a certain point in his career that he didn’t possess a certain factor that would make him stand out as an actor in Hollywood. However, he still had an excellent mind for what a TV show and a movie should look like. So, he decided to put himself behind the cameras.

After a short while, he became an excellent director and producer. Even though he might not be the most recognizable name in Hollywood, Ron Howard is certainly near the top. So, during the interview, he explained how he learned that he wasn’t going to make it as an actor.

Ron Howard Explained How He Wanted to Transition to Become a Director

Happy Days was the turning point at which Ron Howard knew that his acting career was going to be limited. That is never an easy thing to realize, but he is no worse for wear having figured that out.

“As an actor, I don’t think that I ever had that sort of range, like a Bryan Cranston. There’s another level of talent, of creativity, and I don’t think that I ever [had that]. I think this is why I really wanted to be a director,” he explained to Patrick.

“As an actor, I was really solid. I was really dutiful, I was committed, and in certain instances, I could be good. But,” he continued, “I didn’t think that I had that, sort of, X-factor.”

Ron Howard continued, explaining how many stars that he has directed over the years have that X-factor. He said that he feels that he can contribute more as a director to the end product than he could as an actor. He does clarify, though, that he thinks he has that factor behind the lens.

Cheryl Howard Has a Cameo in Almost Everything He Directs

Ron Howard has an impressive Hollywood resume. Over his career thus far, he has amassed 76 award nominations of which he has won 39, including 2 Oscars.

In this same interview, Howard was asked about his directing process. Patrick wanted to know if Howard, like Alfred Hitchcock, would put himself in his own films for a brief moment. But, the director explained that he would do that with his wife, Cheryl Howard.

“My wife is that for me,” Howard said. “It’s just worked out that way. She’s not an actress. She doesn’t even particularly like doing it.”

He and Dan Patrick both laughed as he said this. But, Ron Howard continued to explain the role he has his wife play in his films.

He said that he “always needed people to fill in” as an extra. Ron Howard explained that his budget starting as a director was always low, so he needed the extras to be inexpensive. So, he explained that he would always ask her to fill in, and “she would always do it.”

Over the years, he became very “superstitious about it.” He continued to explain that “sometimes she has a line of dialogue, sometimes not. But if you know who you’re looking for, you can almost always find Cheryl Howard.”