‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard Revealed the Advice He Never Forgot from Show’s Creator

by Jennifer Shea

“Happy Days” creator Garry Marshall once dispensed some heartfelt advice to Ron Howard, and Howard has never forgotten it.

The “Happy Days” actor spoke to Entertainment Tonight in the summer of 2016, around the time of Marshall’s death. He said that Marshall had advised him to keep his priorities straight even as his star rose in Hollywood.

“Garry became one of these guiding forces, and not just creatively,” Howard said. “Because Garry Marshall, as successful as he was – whether it was stage, big screen – his mantra to anyone who was beginning to succeed in the business was simple. He said, ‘This is great. It’s fantastic. But don’t ever forget that life is more important than show business.’”

“And he lived that,” Howard added. “And you could see it demonstrated in the choices he made.”

Watch Howard remember Marshall here:

‘Happy Days’ Creator Had a Busy Professional Life

The legendary producer and director was also an actor, appearing in a recurring role on “Murphy Brown” and guest-starring on shows like “Monk” and “ER.” He even wrote plays, such as “Wrong Turn at Lungfish” and “The Roast.” As if that weren’t enough, he also sometimes directed opera, according to Variety.

But Marshall always made time for his family. And he is survived by his wife Barbara, his son Scott and daughters Lori and Kathleen, as well as by his six grandchildren.

The “Happy Days” creator died that July in Burbank of complications from pneumonia after a stroke. He was 81.

“Garry’s gift for storytelling brought joy, laughter and an enormous, beating heart to every screen, large and small,” Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay said in a statement at the time. “When describing the type of stories he chose to tell, Garry once said: ‘I try to find scripts of stories that kinda celebrate the human condition.’ … And that indefatigable optimism came through in everything he touched.”

Ron Howard’s New Book Is Finally Done

Meanwhile, more recently, Howard has been working on a memoir co-written with his brother Clint. They recently finished it. Titled “The Boys,” the book is due out this October.

The inspiration for the book was the Howards’ father Rance, who died in 2017 at age 89. Their mother, Jean Speegle Howard, died in 2000 at age 73. Having lost both their parents, the Howards began to reflect on their respective childhoods. They came away amazed at what their parents had accomplished.

“Who grows up on a soundstage hanging out with Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, or with a trained bear?” Ron Howard marveled in a statement. “We’re excited to share the story of how our parents pulled this off— raising two show-business kids who had no clue that their lives were out of the ordinary while rooting them in a loving, slightly off-beat family.”

Even before he appeared on “Happy Days,” the actor and director had starred in “The Andy Griffith Show.” As for Clint Howard, he added that he had learned a lot from both of their parents. Like Ron, Clint was also a child actor who appeared in “Star Trek” and “Gentle Ben.”

“Mom and Dad’s teachings are treasures to this day but I’ve realized that I took their presence for granted,” Clint said. “Writing ‘The Boys’ with my brother has been the topper of a wonderful lifetime.”