“The Andy Griffith Show” star Ron Howard reflected on his friendship with Andy Griffith and the last time the two spoke during his final days. Griffith passed away on July 3, 2012, at his home in North Carolina.
Howard, who starred alongside Griffith as Opie, was shocked to hear of the actor’s passing. In an interview with ET, Howard confessed the two hadn’t talked in the months leading up to Griffith’s death. But the two had several conversations the year prior. Griffith and the Howards remained lifelong friends. And Howard’s father Rance spoke to him a few weeks prior to his death.
“I just heard this morning right after I woke up. A friend had called to let me know. And I jumped online and got the confirmation. It was sad,” Howard told the outlet. “I hadn’t talked to Andy this year at all. I spoke to him several times last year. My dad had spoken to him recently, my father Rance. At that point, which was only six or eight, Andy was very upbeat. Interest in working, interested in projects. I think he lived a rich, full life, full of optimism until the very end.”
Ron Howard Reflects on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
When he was just a boy, Howard starred on the show as Griffith’s son, a role he maintained for eight seasons. Howard credited the show with helping to launch his career and make him as successful as he ended up. The director believed a big success of the show was due to Griffith himself.
Although Griffith didn’t have a hand in creating the episodes, Howard believed he played a crucial role in deciding the feel and tone of the show. Writers and producers latched onto Griffith’s style and pleasant nature. Howard remembered his time on the show fondly and believed the show helped him realize how much fun creating can be.
“There wasn’t neurosis around the set. There was a kind of respect for the opportunity, a humility in that. And yet a sense of play. I grew up in this environment believing that creativity and agony were not interlinked. That creativity and fun can be interlinked,” Howard continued. “As long as effort was part of the equation. He definitely informed my career. Our family wouldn’t be what it is today, we wouldn’t be who we are without that show. And that show wouldn’t have been what it was without Andy.”