As confirmed by his son Ron, actor Rance Howard has passed away at the age of 89. Aside from being a successful actor, Howard is the father of director and former child star Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, as well as grandfather to actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard. Born November 17, 1928 as Harold Rance Beckenholdt, he attended the University of Oklahoma and joined the Air Force where he served for three years. Son Ron was born while he was still serving. He changed his name to Rance Howard and began to work on his acting career in 1948, moving to New York City and getting some theater jobs with touring shows.
When Ron was 2, Howard and his toddler son both made their film debut in the movie Frontier Woman. Many of his earlier roles were alongside young son Ron, including in the movies The Music Man and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, the latter also served as the film debut of Ron's brother Clint. When Ron was cast as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, his father ended up appearing in five episodes. Howard also frequently worked with his younger son Clint. Howard often appeared in the series Gentle Ben which starred Clint.
Not all of Howard's work was with his children, he also was seen in the movies An Eye for an Eye, Cool Hand Luke, and Chinatown. He guest starred on several TV shows, including That Girl, The Virginian, Bonanza, and Kung Fu. Meanwhile, Ron was starting to transition to director. Howard often appeared in his son's movies, starting with Grand Theft Auto and Cotton Candy in the late 70s. Around the same time, he also guest starred on three episodes of Happy Days alongside Ron.
Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. Today he passed at 89. He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) November 25, 2017
Rance and Ron Howard continued working together in the 80s, with father Howard appearing in four more of the movies Ron directed - Splash, Cocoon, Gung Ho, and Parenthood - all of which also featured Clint. Howard and his sons all continued working together throughout their careers. Howard continued working on TV throughout the decade, with guest spots on Happy Days spin-off Mork & Mindy, as well as The Thornbirds, Dallas, Murder She Wrote, and Superboy. He was also seen in the movies Innerspace and The Burbs.
Howard was seen in a number of well-rated and successful films in the 90s, including Ed Wood, Apollo 13, Mars Attacks, Independence Day, and Ghosts of Mississippi. He also appeared in numerous TV shows, including multiple episodes each of Seinfeld, Married with Children, and Babylon 5. He started the new millennium by working with both of his sons again, in How the Grinch Stole Christmas and then with Ron again in the Oscar winning A Beautiful Mind. The three family members reunited on Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon. Meanwhile, Rance was seen in numerous other movies, including Joe Dirt, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Jonah Hex, and The Lone Ranger. His final role was alongside son Clint in Apple Seed, currently in post production and scheduled for release in 2018.
Howard began a legacy in film that stretches through three generations of his family and he will be deeply missed.
Source: Ron Howard