Happy Days star Ron Howard mourns the death of his actor father Rance

Rance Howard with wife Judy at the premiere of Nebraska, his acclaimed movie, in 2013. Source: Getty

Happy Days star and famous director Ron Howard has paid a sad tribute to his actor father, Rance Howard, who has died at the age of 89.

Ron Howard wrote that his father’s decision to pursue acting had changed the whole family’s lives.

“Clint and I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons,” Ron Howard tweeted on behalf of himself and his actor brother Clint Howard. Ron Howard’s daughter is the actress Bryce Dallas Howard.

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Rance Howard Snr starred in dozens of well-known movies in a 69-year showbiz career, including Chinatown, Cool Hand Luke, Cocoon, Splash, Parenthood, Innerspace, Apollo 13, Independence Day, Mars Attacks!, Psycho, Frost/Nixon, and The Lone Ranger remake.  He also acted in countless television shows, with The Thorn Birds, Mork & Mindy, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Seinfeld, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons and The X-Files to name a few.

Howard was the son of an Oklahoma farmer but studied drama at university then went to New York, where he won a part in a play alongside Henry Fonda in 1950, putting him on the acting map. Son Ron starred with him for the first time at just two, when they both appeared in 1956’s Frontier Woman.

He went on to appear in more than 100 movies, often in supporting character roles. In 2013, he starred in an indie film called Nebraska, which was hugely celebrated, garnering six Oscar nominations.

He was married to Jean Speegle Howard, an actress, from 1949 until her death in 2000. He remarried, to Judy Howard, in 2001. Judy died earlier this year.

Bryce Dallas Howard also mourned her grandfather on Twitter, posting a poem called ‘Gone from My Sight’ by Henry Van Dyke.

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Numerous stars paid tribute to the late actor, including Russell Crowe, Matthew Modine and Corey Feldman.

Do you remember seeing Rance Howard in a film or TV show?