'The Andy Griffith Show': Ron Howard Said Andy Made His Work a 'Learning Experience'

Ron Howard is known to many Hollywood heavyweights as the powerhouse director behind blockbusters such as Apollo 13. However, for many of Howard’s older fans, he will always be best known as Opie Taylor in the classic television series The Andy Griffith Show.

Howard, who joined the cast when he was just a child, appeared on the show for all eight seasons that it was on the air, practically growing up in front of viewers’ eyes. Although Howard went on to do great things for the entertainment industry, he never forgot where he came from. And in 2010, he opened up about how it was to work with legendary star Andy Griffith. 

Ron Howard was cast as Opie when he was only six years old

Howard was born in 1954, raised by a father who was a working actor/director and a mother who had worked as an actress. By the time he was only a few years old, Howard knew that he wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, and was cast in several popular television shows.

When he was only six years old, Ron Howard — who was billed on the show as Ronny Howard — landed the sought-after role of Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show.

The character of Opie Taylor was endearing, made even more so through Howard’s endearing, earnest performance. As the son of Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith), Opie was a young boy who had lost his mother, and for that reason is especially close with his father, as well as their housekeeper and relative Aunt Bee. 

Ron Howard was one of the biggest stars of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Howard ultimately appeared on all eight seasons of The Andy Griffith Show and became one of the most enduring characters on the show. When the show ended, Howard went on to further success in television, landing the lead role in the series Happy Days.

Although Howard likely would have gone on to a very bright future in acting, he decided to shift his focus to directing.

Over the past several decades, Howard has had a hand in some of Hollywood’s biggest films, including Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, and Angels & Demons. Critics have praised Howard’s willingness to tell tough stories, and audiences love the way that he is able to craft highly entertaining storylines. 

What did Ron Howard say about Andy Griffith?

There’s no doubt that Howard’s time with Andy Griffith made a profound impact on his life. Howard, who worked with the actor and folksy comedian for so many years, always had high praise for Griffith and the way that he was able to create such a positive work environment for the cast and crew of The Andy Griffith Show.

Speaking to PopEater in 2010, two years before Griffith’s death, Howard recalled: “He treated me really well, but he made it a learning experience, not in a stern, taskmaster kind of a way, but I was really allowed a real insight into creativity and how things work and why some scenes were funny and others weren’t. That insight has served me really well over the years. Andy was really kind to me, always playful and fun, but, by the same token, he wanted to get the work done.”

After Griffith passed away in 2012, Howard took to social media to pay his respects, acknowledging that he is “forever grateful” for Griffith’s influence on his life and his work. It certainly seems that Howard wouldn’t have the level of success that he currently enjoys without the time that he spent as Opie Taylor. 

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