‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ernest T. Bass Actor Howard Morris Thanked Fans of the Show for Giving the Stars Courage

by Chris Haney
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During a 2004 interview, The Andy Griffith Show star Howard Morris opened up about how important the show’s fans are to him.

Morris, who played Ernest T. Bass on the classic sitcom, gave a career-spanning interview to the Television Foundation Academy. He spoke about guest-starring on The Dick Van Dyke Show and his time on The Andy Griffith Show. In addition, Morris revealed details of when he directed the hit show and its spinoff Gomer Pyle – USMC.

As the interviewer began to move on to a different subject, Morris paused and asked to backtrack. He felt like he hadn’t said everything he wanted to about his time on The Andy Griffith Show. The actor wanted to make sure to acknowledge the important role that the classic TV show’s fans played in his life.

“Could I stop a minute and go back to The Andy Griffith Show?” Howard Morris asked before continuing. “I’d like to thank the fans of The Andy Griffith Show. They give you courage to go ahead, and they love you regardless of [whatever other projects you work on]. They’re there, and that’s nice.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Shares What It Was Like to Work With a Young Ron Howard

Of course, during his time on the The Andy Griffith Show, Morris had the opportunity to work with a young Ron Howard. The child actor who played Opie would go on to star in Happy Days and other shows and movies. Additionally, he would become one Hollywood’s greatest directors in the years that followed.

During the same 2004 interview, he credited Howard’s parents for his advanced acting skills at his age. His parents were both actors themselves, and passed their talents on to their children.

“He was 5 or 6 then and a doll to work with,” Morris said of Ron Howard. “Well trained by his actor-father [Rance Howard] and his mother [actress Jean Howard].”

Actress Elinor Donahue Would Agree With Howard Morris’ Assessment

While speaking with the same outlet in 2015, actress Elinor Donahue also opened up about her time on The Andy Griffith Show. Donahue has worked with many different actors over the years, including various young stars.

Yet she ranks Ron Howard at the top of the list. The pair worked together during the first season of the classic sitcom.

“Ron Howard was the best child actor I had worked with,” Donahue explained. “He just had something.” 

Donahue also shared that Ronny Howard – as he was known as a child – was already a professional at such a young age. Howard never forgot his lines and was never a “bratty” child actor.

“He always knew his lines. He knew your lines as well,” Donahue added. “Not the least bit bratty or ‘know-it-all’ or anything. A very nice boy.” 

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