The name Rance Howard may not ring a bell for you, but it's almost guaranteed that his face will garner recognition. Father of Ron Howard, Rance appeared in numerous films and television shows, usually as minor characters or comic relief.
Born in 1928, Rance Howard had more than 280 acting credits to his name. The Oklahoma native was most well-known for his roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nebraska, Babylon 5, and The Waltons, and was considered one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood.
Howard married Jean Speegle-Howard in 1949, and they stayed married until her death in 2000. Together, they had two children: Ron Howard and Clint Howard. He was the grandfather to Bryce Dallas, Paige, Reed, and Jocelyn Howard, and great-grandfather to Beatrice Jean and Theodore Norman. After his wife's death, Rance re-married in 2001. His second wife, Judy Howard, passed away in January of 2017.
Ron Howard, an award-winning director, actor, and writer, took to social media to announce his father's passing, and to offer some kind words in his memory.
Howard broke the new of his father's passing on November 25th via Twitter.
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
Condolences poured in, as the Howard family is well-respected in Hollywood.
Love from all of us to all of you. He was an incredible man.❤️— Jason Ritter (@JasonRitter) November 26, 2017
Was very honored to know Rance. Such a wonderful man. So much love to Ron and the entire Howard family. https://t.co/UvVCg6GrJ8— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) November 25, 2017
Did you know that Rance Howard acted in 280 films or TV shows? He was in 6 films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Music Man (1962),Chinatown (1974), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Frost/Nixon (2008) and Nebraska (2013). #khou— The Bishop (@BillBishopKHOU) November 26, 2017
RIP RANCE HOWARD! A LEGENDARY ACTOR & A KIND GOOD HEARTED MAN WHOM I HAD THE PLEASURE OF DIRECTING ONCE! HE WAS AMAZINGLY PROFESSIONAL AFTER 50 ODD YRS N THE BIZ! HE GAVE ME A GR8 COMPLIMENT WHEN HE TOLD ME MY DIRECTING STYLE WAS MUCH LIKE THAT OF HIS SON RON HOWARD! MY HEART &— Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) November 26, 2017
PRAYERS GO OUT 2 HIS FAMILY @ THIS TIME OF GRIEF! MAY RANVE HOWARD LIVE ON IN HISTORY AS 1 OF THE GOOD GUYS, WHO WAS A PIONEER OF HIS CRAFT! GOD BLESS! 🙏🏼❤😇— Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) November 26, 2017
His granddaughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, spoke highly of Howard earlier this month.
“He’s had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star,” she said. “He’s never made the money that people dream of, and yet he’s carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career of a character actor. He’s an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life.”
Ron Howard echoed these statements.
“He has an undying love of the process, which has made him appreciate every day on a film or television set," he said. "And he’s never lost the youthful excitement for being a part of a process that tells a story that reaches audiences in different ways and reflects the work of a team of collaborators that share that excitement and that always rubbed off on me, that joy of being lucky enough to be among the storytellers.”
Rest in peace, Rance Howard. You will be missed.