‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Legend Ron Howard Didn’t Know What Directing Was Until Key Moment with Father

by Jon D. B.

In this revealing interview with the Director’s Guild of America, The Andy Griffith Show icon Ron Howard shares his directing epiphany – and it has everything to do with his father.

This won’t surprise fans of Howard. One of the most prolific directors of his generation, the actor-turned-director comes from a lineage of Hollywood greatness. His father, Rance Howard, starred in over 100 films and countless television episodes. The two even made their feature film debuts with the exact same project: 1956’s Western, Frontier Woman.

Ron was two-years-old at the time, and would grow up in the business with his father. And we all know how that turned out! Television and cinema fans are better for it, that’s for sure.

Speaking to this with the Director’s Guild of America, The Andy Griffith Show alum shares what it was like learning directing through osmosis – and through the eyes of his father.

Of directing specifically, Howard says “It just seeped into my consciousness, I guess. But as a kid, even though I had been directed and I understood that there was someone called the director whom I’d interacted with, I don’t think I really understood it until I saw my father, Rance, directing a small Equity-waiver theater production in Los Angeles,” he begins.”

It was during this production that Ron “really saw [his father, Rance] working with actors and shaping the scenes.”

Through this, The Andy Griffith Show icon says he “began to put it together on a deeper level.” Up until that point, “the director was just a person who told me where to stand.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Features both Ron and Rance Howard

Interestingly, Ron says he was already working on The Andy Griffith Show at the time he truly got a grasp on directing through his father.

At some point in the course of that show, I remember noticing that the director was the person who was interacting with everybody, and that looked interesting to me, because I liked what everybody did,” Howard adds of his budding interest.

“I’d be sitting on the dolly, learning to turn the wheels and look through the viewfinder, or I’d be up talking to the sound guys learning how to guide the boom around the set,” he reveals to the Director’s Guild of America.

Throughout this experience on The Andy Griffith Show, his father would come to guest star, too. In fact, Rance Howard held guest appearances in five episodes of the show.

And through it all, young Ron Howard would grow up to transition into directing. Today, we have him to thank for phenomenal films like 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. He’s also the man behind The Da Vinci Code films, Solo: A STAR WARS Story, and of course: Apollo 13 and Jim Carrey’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas.