‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Explained Why Ron Howard Was the Best Child Actor They Worked With

by Megan Molseed
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Elinor Donahue has worked with many different actors over the years. However, according to a 2015 interview at EMMY TV LEGENDs, there is one that stands above the rest. Donahue remembered working with child actor-turned-director, Ron Howard. Howard, who played Opie on the popular sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show worked with Donahue during the first season of the popular sitcom’s run. 

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

The longtime actress also noted that the actor, then known as Ronny Howard, isn’t just pleasant to work with, he is also extremely professional. 

“He always knew his lines. He knew your lines as well,” Donahue smiled. She was impressed with Howard’s professional demeanor. She truly also enjoyed her young costar during her time on The Andy Griffith Show. 

“Not the least bit bratty or ‘know-it-all’ or anything,” said Donahue. “A very nice boy.” 

Donahue Remembers Ron Howard’s Dedication

Donahue first found fame playing the oldest child of Jim and Margaret Anderson in the 1950’s American sitcom Father Knows Best.

In 1960, Elinor Donahue took on the role of pharmacist Ellie Walker on The Andy Griffith Show. During her 12 episodes run on the popular show, Donahue had a chance to work quite extensively with the young Ron Howard. 

“He was not acting,” Donahue said of the young actor. “We were those people when we were talking. It’s just adorable. I love him!”  

Donahue Finds Fame After Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show premiered in 1960 and remained an American household mainstay for eight years. Even 53 years after the show’s final episode, it remains a popular fan favorite. The series revolved around Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith).

Along with serving the town of Mayberry as sheriff, Taylor, a widow raises his young son, Opie (Ron Howard), with the assistance of live-in help and a tight-knit community. Additionally, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), Taylor’s very dedicated but often incompetent deputy, assists Taylor in his law-enforcement role.

Originally, Ellie was supposed to be a love interest for Sheriff Taylor, according to The Andy Griffith Show’s IMDB page. However, production released Donahue from the remaining requirements of the three-year contract with the show after just 12 episodes.

After leaving The Andy Griffith Show, Donahue went on to a variety of roles on shows. Her works include shows such as Diff’rent Strokes, The Golden Girls, and Friends. Additionally, Elinor Donahue even makes a memorable impression in the hit film Pretty Woman. Donahue appears as Bridget, the kind shop owner who helped Vivian after her initial heartbreaking experience shopping in Beverly Hills.

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