Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard is a solid autobiography from the successful Hollywood actors (and director in Ron's case). It's a good story of them growing up, with their parents help all along the way.

Things got started when their actor father Rance took 3 1/2 year old Ronny with him to see a casting director in New York City in 1957 and left word that he had a son who was a fine actor. Ronny got a part out of that and then in 1958, the family moved to Los Angeles at the suggestion of Rance's agent who said parts more plentiful there. 

Rance was getting scattered work, but Ronny regularly got acting jobs, as he says, almost every part he auditioned for. Ronny and later Clint were tutored by Rance who taught them to prepare for auditions and parts as professionals, not requiring excessive retakes and focusing on getting the emotions of the role right. Additionally, their father always spoke to them very matter of factly, explaining to them the adult behavior they often witnessed on sets. 

Ronny landed in 1960 a regular role as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Clint as a child had a starring role in the series Gentle Ben and went on to act in many Star Trek shows and other vehicles. Ronny later played the role of Richie Cunningham on Happy Days and had a large part in the 1973 movie American Graffiti from George Lucas. He then went on to make movies, with his first real job as a director on the movie Grand Theft Auto when he twenty-three.

The book is an interesting and nice story about brothers growing up with lives very different than most, being show-business kids starring in hugely popular TV shows and having to navigate public school and comments from classmates. There were other problems to contend with, including Clint's drug addiction, but the family remained close and supportive. Ron also notes how much later he was an executive producer on and offscreen narrator for the show Arrested Development, and in the final season, there's an episode where Ron, his wife Cheryl, their four kids, and Ron and Clint's dad appears.