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Ron Howard: Balancing Hollywood Fame and a Normal Childhood

Ron Howard is a well-known name in American households. Many are familiar with his successful career as an actor and director. But what people may not know is the story behind his Hollywood journey. Ron’s parents, Rance Howard and Jean Speegle, were also entertainers who made sure their sons had a normal life despite their fame in the industry.

Ron Howard and his mother Cheryl

In their book “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” Ron and his brother Clint Howard shed light on their parents’ efforts to balance their careers and their children’s well-being. Jean Speegle, who studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, experienced an accident that left her unable to walk. However, she didn’t let it stop her from pursuing her passion for acting. She continued her studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she met her future husband, Rance

The Howards’ love for acting led them to join a children’s theater touring company. While Jean portrayed various princesses, Rance often played the role of a huntsman or a prince. During their time on tour in Kentucky, the couple decided to tie the knot. After a year and a half, they left the touring company to focus on starting a family.

Ron Howard and Clint Howard soon became part of their parents’ lives. Jean Speegle continued to act for a while before giving it up to raise her boys. Rance not only continued his acting career but also managed the careers of his sons. He was there to supervise Ron’s role on “The Andy Griffith Show” and stood by his side during his time on “The Music Man.” Clint also had his share of acting success in projects like “Bonanza,” “Star Trek,” and “Gentle Ben.”

In their book, Clint and Ron Howard open up about their upbringing in Hollywood. Despite their fame, their parents kept them grounded and taught them the value of money. The boys’ earnings were put into trust accounts for their future benefit. They lived modestly and didn’t indulge in extravagant purchases or vacations. Their father, Rance, even declined the opportunity to start a clothing line to protect his children’s childhood from the trappings of Hollywood celebrity.

Growing up in Hollywood presented its own challenges, but Rance made sure his sons’ mental health was well taken care of. Ron shared an incident from his childhood when he was on set with older child actors who used profane language. Rance stepped in and reminded them of his son’s age and the importance of appropriate language.

Today, Ron Howard is a highly respected actor and director, known for his work on films like “Apollo 13.” His brother Clint has also had a successful career in the entertainment industry. Jean Speegle, after thirty years away from acting, made a comeback and became what Ron described as the “new old woman on the comedy block.”

The emotional connection between Ron and his mother became even more apparent when he cast her in a role for “Apollo 13.” Rather than simply giving her the part, Ron decided to audition her. As Jean began to act, Ron couldn’t help but shed tears of pride and joy. It was a way to showcase his mother’s incredible talent and give her a chance to shine.

While the Howard brothers mourned the loss of their mother in 2000 and their father Rance in 2017, they found solace in each other. Their book, “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family,” served as a way for them to honor their parents’ memories and come to terms with their loss.

Ron and Clint Howard are not only talented individuals but also grounded and compassionate human beings. Their parents’ dedication to their well-being and the values they instilled in them shaped them into the successful individuals they are today. Let’s celebrate their journey and share their inspiring story with others.

 

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