Clint and Ron Howard Remember When They Were Just ‘The Boys’

Growing up, Clint and Ron Howard never needed to dream of stardom, as a result of as children they’d already achieved it. Ron was simply 6 when he was second-billed on “The Andy Griffith Show” and eight when “The Music Man,” that includes him crooning “Gary, Indiana,” was launched. Clint, his youthful brother, was racking up roles on “Bonanza,” “Star Trek” and “Gentle Ben.”

Today they’re each Hollywood veterans: Ron, 67, is an Academy Award-winning director (“A Beautiful Mind”) and co-founder of Imagine Entertainment, whereas Clint, 62, is a prolific character actor who’s proven up in every single place from “Seinfeld” to the “Austin Powers” movies.

But their lives were remodeled by their time as child actors and the affect of their mother and father, Rance Howard and Jean Speegle Howard, who left Oklahoma to pursue their own ambitions of turning into actors — targets that were surpassed numerous instances over by the accomplishments of their two sons.

Ron and Clint Howard retrace this formative interval in a new book, “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” which can be launched by William Morrow on Tuesday. In their alternating accounts, the Howards look again on their mother and father’ lives, their own upbringings and their success at staving off the darker aspects of their occupation — at the least till the realities of adolescence and maturity reared their heads.

When the brothers spoke in a video interview last month, they talked about how writing “The Boys” had helped reconnect them to one another and to their family history.

“We’ve remained close, but we’re 3,000 miles apart and busy with our own families,” Ron Howard said, including that the book “has everything to do with trying to put our lives into the context of who our parents were and what they gave us.”

“We wouldn’t have done it just to tell our story,” he added. “Once again, Mom and Dad pulled us together.”

Clint and Ron Howard talked about their early begins in show enterprise, their earliest brushes with fame and the way their mother and father helped them keep it together. These are edited excerpts from that dialog.

It’s well-known that you simply’re the children of actors, but you’re not precisely Barrymore scions. What were your mother and father like? How did they discover it in Hollywood?

RON HOWARD There’s no motive they should have succeeded. They didn’t know a factor about where they were going. They weren’t bohemians, they weren’t hippies, but they actually were not conservatives. But they’d this dream. They needed to chase that horizon. And after they acquired to the horizon, they never actually slot in. They were at all times a bit cornpone. Hence the time period that they utilized to themselves, subtle hicks.

Were you ever made to really feel that you simply were the breadwinners of your family?

CLINT HOWARD We didn’t take show enterprise home with us. Both Dad and Mom labored their tails off. Mom was only a championship mother. She was on the P.T.A., she was a basketball mother, she was a baseball mother.

RON Dad was a kid-actor whisperer. But he said, I work with you boys since you’re my sons and I think you possibly can study something. I don’t think he believed this was our profession for the remainder of our lives. I don’t think he wished to project that need upon us.

You in all probability might have lived much bigger on the cash you were incomes — why didn’t you?

RON We at all times lived on Dad’s wage. Somebody wished to do an Opie line of clothes — I’m positive it will have meant lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} on the finish of the day. Mom and Dad turned that down for me as a result of they didn’t need me losing my time on that.

CLINT We were never brief for something. But we didn’t go on trip. They didn’t buy new vehicles. Once a yr, Ron and I acquired new college garments. No one was chasing these intoxicating components that fashionable life or show enterprise can overwhelm you with.

As children, you were often crossing paths with commemorated Hollywood artists. Clint, you bought to fulfill Walt Disney while you were engaged on “The Jungle Book.” What was that like?

CLINT I was fully blown away when Walt walked in and said, “You’re doing a fine job, Clint.” I was actually a Disney child. But I was a bit irritated that I hadn’t labored in more Disney shows. [Laughter.]

RON Too dangerous you didn’t simply say, “What took you so long? Walt, how many times have I been to Disneyland? Where’s the quid pro quo here, Walt?”

CLINT These people all appeared fairly pleasant but they weren’t handing out the contracts. I never acquired on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Were both of you ever jealous of one another?

CLINT Our age distinction was supreme. Being 5 years aside, I’d have a look at my brother and go, there’s no likelihood that I can kick his butt. There were a couple of instances we might get right into a fight over baseball playing cards or a toy, and Dad would bodily pull us aside. He would say, you boys are going to need to be good friends while you grow up. So why don’t you simply knock it off?

RON He would say you may have a likelihood to be good friends while you grow up.

There’s a interval you describe within the book, where things were beginning to wind down for Ron on “The Andy Griffith Show” and Clint was starting to take off on “Gentle Ben.” Did that create rigidity between you?

RON I felt envy over what Clint was attaining. He was actually popular in school, a wonderful athlete, gregarious, sensible, assured. Things that I don’t essentially really feel or exude. And I admired that about his persona. And I might see it within the work he was doing as nicely. He was a hell of child actor. The system is about up to make child performers really feel like failures as they undergo adolescence, that most susceptible interval, and I was starting to experience that. Clint skilled a model of it later.

CLINT I labored on “Gentle Ben,” I was one of many coleads of a television series that was actually popular for a brief interval of time. What actually knocked my chin within the grime was getting employed to work on a TV series called “The Cowboys.” The job ended up simply sucking. It was a nasty show. I was still being profitable but the work was poor. That, after which pimples. Dad and Mom warned us about this era of show enterprise. We knew it was coming. There was simply no way to essentially quantify how I was going to really feel about it.

In an period and an industry where medication were prevalent, Ron prevented them fastidiously whereas Clint had a long interval of dependancy and restoration. Why do you think you had such totally different experiences?

RON I was very introverted and my group of friends were likewise. I wasn’t actually allowed to go to events. If I was invited a few times, I think my mother and father said no. But Clint was in a special group, much more socially mature. I also resented some of the restrictions that my mother and father placed on me, and I was continually imploring them to make use of a lighter hand with Clint.

CLINT I had simply some type of odd fascination with smoking weed. To the purpose where I actually practiced — I took some pencil shavings from my pencil sharpener and I twisted up a joint and tried to smoke it. Ron was the primary, he was a bit more nerdy. I was socially more outgoing. I ended up with a gaggle of friends where it was no large deal. The drawback is, as soon as that practice leaves the station, it will probably get going fairly darn quick. It’s a slippery slope and I was throwing down the Crisco.

Ron, did you ever really feel responsible that you simply had by some means let your little brother down and hadn’t protected him from this?

RON Yes, I did really feel that. When we knew Clint was smoking pot, I said, look, it’s not the horrible curse of the demon you worry it may be. But as Clint began to go further, by then I was married and starting to have children. I was involved and I attempted to offer help and go to conferences. I continued to work with Clint and cast him when it made sense. I keep in mind telling him fairly late in his interval of abuse — we used loads of baseball terminology — I said, you’re a bona fide .300 hitter who’s batting about .217.

CLINT I’ve that letter. You wrote it on stationery from a New York lodge room.

RON I was thinking about you whereas I was on the highway. But I was very pleased with Clint for having navigated it. That achievement meant so much to Mom and Dad, in all probability more than something any of us had achieved.

CLINT My restoration wasn’t easy-peasy, clear and snazzy. Ron had so much to do with it and Dad had so much to do with it, too. I struggled with Mom passing away, but I was very pleased with the second I might drop my nine-year chip in her coffin. I only want it was a 10-year chip.

What’s your favourite performance that your brother has given?

RON Clint was large in “The Red Pony.” But as I was doing analysis for this, I had forgotten that we had each been on “The Danny Kaye Show,” and there was this sketch where I was presupposed to be this child James Bond character and Clint was my boss. He nailed that scene. When I watched it, I said, my God, look how present he’s. He actually is taking part in a 50-year-old, hard-bitten man, and I buy it.

CLINT He talks about me being in “The Red Pony,” but I never acquired an opportunity to do what he did in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” There’s a scene in that movie where he has this panic assault that turns right into a tantrum, and he simply was so plausible. I’m going, the man’s acquired chops. Also, as a young man, he did a movie, “Act of Love.” That was weighty materials and he nailed it.

RON That was a euthanasia story, primarily based on an actual event, where a youthful brother had been beseeched by the opposite to finish it after a horrible accident. There’s a courtroom scene where he’s speaking about how much he loves his brother and Clint was going by a tough time during this era. It was one of many most personal moments I ever generated onscreen, as a result of I was channeling my own sense of affection and despair for what Clint was going by. The tears and the feelings were actual — they got here from my own intestine.

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