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Ron Howard Once Defended Fellow Child Actor Jake Lloyd Over ‘Star Wars’ Performance

Ron Howard Once Defended Fellow Child Actor Jake Lloyd Over ‘Star Wars’ Performance

When criticism of a child actor like Jake Lloyd goes overboard, it’s good to have people like Ron Howard in your corner. Lloyd, who played the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, got raked over the coals by Newsweek.

So, let’s turn back the clock to 1999. Newsweek reportedly offered its critique of Lloyd without seeing the movie. How could the staffers do such a thing? When they came out with their critique, the movie had not yet been released publicly. That put Jake Lloyd in the middle of the crosshairs, with Ron Howard dunking on all these fools who criticized a little boy.

Still, they must have gotten their information from sources or other people. Lloyd was 9 years old at the time. Ron Howard, who knew a thing or two about being a child actor, came to Lloyd’s defense. The movie director sat down and wrote a letter to the publication.

Ron Howard Puts Newsweek on Notice

Howard’s letter is dated January 19, 1999. He mentioned in his letter that Newsweek was probably basing its reporting on hearsay and rumors. Howard defiantly disagrees with Newsweek‘s conclusion regarding Lloyd’s acting abilities.

Heck, even Mark Hamill has come to the young man’s defense over the years. Lloyd is back in the news these days after his mother spoke out about his mental health issues. She also mentioned what type of role being in Star Wars played in this matter. But Lloyd’s mother also has been clear that his current issues are not connected to that movie.

Right now, Lloyd is hospitalized in a mental health location. He’s suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which she said to be genetic. Lloyd’s mother said that he is doing well. He currently is in the 10th month of an 18-month stay at this institution, CinemaBlend reports.

By the way, Lloyd isn’t the only Star Wars-related actor to go through some stressful moments. Ahmed Best has had to deal with overzealous criticism from his role as Jar Jar Binks. Best even said that he’d had some suicidal thoughts over time, too.

‘Star Wars’ Fans Air Their Bad Takes

It’s one thing to just see Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace as a bad movie. Fans can have those opinions and own them either in private or on social media. Yet Howard was not happy that people like Newsweek decided to go after a child actor.

Howard played Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show, literally growing up before millions of Americans. It’s not easy for a lot of child actors in Hollywood. Sometimes, their parents or guardians screw them over of money or property. Hopefully, that’s improved since the days of Jackie Coogan as a child actor.

But knowing that a media establishment like Newsweek decided to get its jollies about ruining a kid’s life is pretty low. Since 1999, Newsweek, much like other legacy media establishments, has been through some cuts and changes. Lloyd probably will never work as an actor again.

Thankfully, there are people in show business like Howard and Hamill who did speak up for Lloyd. The Star Wars franchise keeps rolling on, though. Lloyd’s situation has been raised to the roof since news of his health has been out in the public.

Here’s hoping more voices will rise to the occasion like Howard when the situation calls for it. Also, here’s hoping Lloyd continues to make progress with his mental health.