Ron Howard's 50 years in the movie business have taught him how to handle actors, studios and, of course, a little drama.
Most of us have heard Ron Howard’s laugh. Think back to just about any episode of "Happy Days" when the Fonz says something embarrassing to Howard’s character, teenage Richie Cunningham, who shuffles his feet and laughs with a breathy, nervous naiveté. Or recall the old black-and-white episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show," when Howard played Sheriff Andy Taylor’s enthusiastic son Opie, throwing his auburn head back in laughter at the fumbling Don Knotts.
Ron Howard’s laugh is familiar; it’s easy, uninhibited, and even a little bit self-effacing; it makes us laugh right along with him. Today, as an Oscar-winning director and co-chairman of Imagine Entertainment, Howard directs movies that stick in the public’s imagination just as much as his infectious smile. He credits his directing approach, and much of the joy he still finds in filmmaking, to his early days as a young actor on "The Andy Griffith Show."
“That was a very unique environment,” Howard says. “It was incredibly productive, but it was also fun. And Andy Griffith, to be honest, set a tremendous example without ever lecturing or offering a word of advice. Basically, he demonstrated a creative integrity about the work…. It did not mean that people had to wander around with a furrowed brow, chain smoking and kicking furniture, in order to bring something that was really personal and creatively exciting to the public.”
Howard worked on the set of "The Andy Griffith Show" from the age of 6 to 14. His experiences solidified into a foundation for his directing today. “That’s the kind of environment that I try to create, and it’s the way I work,” he says. “So I’m not a person that flourishes in an environment of conflict. I’ve learned to cope with hot situations, but it’s not something that I find stimulating.”
In Hollywood, conflict would seem par for the course. It’s not known as the land of nice guys. It’s known as the land of egos. The land of divas. And sometimes, the land of money fi rst and people last. But Howard has maintained a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in the business.
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