In a recent interview, famous actor and director Ron Howard details one of his trick his father did to prepare him for shows like The Andy Griffith Show. While Howard was young when he started playing Opie, his acting career began when he was just a toddler. Now, Howard and his brother are talking about what that life was like.
In a recent interview with Seth Meyers, Ron and Clint Howard talk about their upcoming book, The Boys: A Memoir of a Hollywood Family and what it was like growing up in showbusiness. Howard’s father, Rance Howard, was a film and television star.
Seth noted that while Ron and Clint’s father wanted them to have a normal life, he also knew the boys wanted to be in the business, and wanted them to thrive. This lead their father to some incredibly creative tactics catered to making children fight distraction on set.
“My first audition, I was basically only three years old. We learned the scene. Turns out, he’s great at teaching kids how to understand how to act,” Howard said. That’s notable in Howard’s performance on The Andy Griffith Show as young Opie Taylor. Most kids struggle to act, but Howard had a great teacher.
“He realized that when I got there for my screen test, there were going to be a lot of distractions,” Howard continued.
“So he got an out-of-work acting friend to come over and they hung a bucket from a string and kind of move it around and he’d say ‘no! don’t look up at that. Just look at the other actor,'” Howard explained.
Ron Howard’s Mother was Also Involved in the Process
Meanwhile, Ron Howard’s mother also used a household object to get him used to being on a set.
“My mom had a cereal box pretending to be a camera that was kind of moving around,” he explained. “It was a little bit like Tiger Wood’s dad yelling in the backswing. But much kinder.”
Ron Howard went on to find major success with The Andy Griffith Show, but unlike some child stars, the show that made him famous was just the beginning of a very long and successful career. His brother, Clint, also found luck in the industry.
Hollywood parents will always sound a bit strange to people on the outside, but it’s always fascinating to see where young actors get their start. Ron and Clint, thankfully, had quite a supportive background. Their parents’ unconventional acting techniques may have been part of the reason Ron got such an early start in the industry.