Ron and Clint Howard, the former being the famous actor and director and the latter, a character actor living in the shadow of his brother, openly and repeatedly credit their father and mother, Rance and Jean, as the reason for their success. Rance, especially, is the hero of the book. He wanted to make it big in Hollywood but saw the early success of his kids and deferred his dreams to mentor his boys. Together, Ron and Clint's parents gave them the steady foundation they needed to fulfill their Hollywood destiny.
“This extraordinary book is not only a chronicle of Ron’s and Clint’s early careers and their wild adventures, but also a primer on so many topics—how an actor prepares, how to survive as a kid working in Hollywood, and how to be the best parents in the world! The Boys will surprise every reader with its humanity.” — Tom Hanks
"I have read dozens of Hollywood memoirs. But The Boys stands alone. A delightful, warm and fascinating story of a good life in show business.” — Malcolm Gladwell
Happy Days, The Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben—these shows captivated millions of TV viewers in the ’60s and ’70s. Join award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and audience-favorite actor Clint Howard as they frankly and fondly share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.
“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity—but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.
With the perspective of time and success—Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor—the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector—sometimes over-protector—from the snares and traps of Hollywood.
By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, THE BOYS is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.
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About the Author
Clint Howard is a character actor and the younger brother of filmmaker Ron Howard. He began his acting career at the age of three when he played the role of Leon on The Andy Griffith Show. He starred opposite the titular bear in the popular late-’60s CBS television series Gentle Ben, and has gone on to act in countless TV shows and films over the years. Among his credits are Star Trek in virtually all of its incarnations, Apollo 13, Seinfeld, Rock ’n’ Roll High School, Arrested Development, The Waterboy, and many horror films.
Table of Contents
Foreword Bryce Dallas Howard ix
1 The Accidental Actor 1
2 Mom and Dad: A Love Story 8
3 Becoming Californians 22
4 The New Kid in Town 37
5 Introducing Opie 49
6 The Truth about Mayberry 68
7 Hot Lights, Real Tears 83
8 Toughening Up 99
9 But First, The Tranya 115
10 Mom, in Her Element 132
11 One Role, Three Bears 151
12 The Injustice to Sandy Koufax 164
13 Fake Blood and Opie-Shaming 179
14 Wild Times in Jackson Hole 195
15 Dating Games, Real and Staged 212
16 The Education of R. W. Howard, Director 229
17 Growth Via Graffiti 245
18 Cruising, Boozing, Scoring 261
19 Clocking in to the Nostalgia Industry 275
20 Fonzie-Mania 290
21 Roger That 307
22 Range to the Rescue 322
23 Filming, Flying, Crashing, Burning 336
24 Richie Grows Up 355