Old School Americana & Nostalgia


How Andy Griffith Impacted Ron Howard’s Approach to Life and Work

How Andy Griffith Impacted Ron Howard’s Approach to Life and Work

Opie Taylor actor Ron Howard grew up to be an Oscar-winning director, and he says the late Andy Griffith is partially to thank for his successful career. 

The Andy Griffith Show was Howard’s first major Hollywood project. When he began with the series, he was only six years old. He remained with the cast until he was 14 and went on to work on several spinoffs over the course of decades.

Many people who get into the industry during their formative years struggle with stereotypical child star issues. And they tend to leave their careers as adults. But Howard had a wholesome and safe experience with young fame. In the past, he has said that is because of his real father, Rance Howard, who served as his manager, and his fictional father, Andy Griffith, who served as his mentor. 

One occasion where Ron Howard spoke about Andy Griffith’s influence over him was during an annual Mount Airy Mayberry Days Celebration. The Los Angeles Times covered a series of pre-recorded statements Howard made about his time with the show. In one of them, the Apollo 13 director gave Griffith credit for teaching him how to approach his professional endeavors. 

“Andy’s impact on my life and my approach to my work really can’t be measured.” He said, per MeTV. “The balance that he sustained between focused, creative effort and this overt, playful enjoyment that he got out of working hard with people that he liked, doing a show he loved, was something that I hope I’ll always remember and emulate.”

Andy Griffith Gave Ron Howard a Safe Place to Study His Craft 

Ron Howard also shared one of Andy Griffith’s overall goals when it came to the classic TV series. 

“I don’t want the public to laugh at us; I want them to laugh with us,” he remembered the late star saying. 

On top of the wisdom Griffith gave Howard, he also kept Howard away from the ugliness of Hollywood by making him “feel safe [and] comfortable enough to participate” in the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into the weekly production. By letting him be involved in that way, Howard was “able to witness and learn so much about the collaborative process — the value of originality, the discipline of form and the bursts of individual inspiration that good moments and scenes are built on.”

Ron Howard and Andy Griffith remained close friends and collaborators until Griffith’s passing in 2012.