Rance Howard, Father Of Director Ron Howard, Dies At 89

Rance Howard, Father Of Director Ron Howard, Dies At 89 Promo Image

Rance Howard, known for his long career as a character actor and being the father of director Ron Howard, died Nov. 25 at age 89. 

Ron announced his father's death on Twitter, speaking for himself and his brother, Clint, also an actor. 

"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," he tweeted. 

Rance was born in 1928 in Oklahoma and started his career young, touring with a children's theater as a boy, according to CNN. 

When he was 20, Rance landed a role in the play "Mister Roberts," acting alongside Henry Fonda in the traveling production for more than a year, according to People. 

He then moved to New York, where he was cast in a variety of television shows, in some cases along with his young sons, Clint and Ron. Clint acted with his father on the show "Gentle Ben" and Ron appeared with him in "The Journey." 

During that time, Rance secured roles in popular shows such as "Bat Masterson," "Gunsmoke" and "The Waltons."

His career also included several movie credits, including roles in son Ron's movies. 

Rance appeared in some of his son's greatest hits, including "Splash," "Cocoon," "The Paper," "Apollo 13," "Frost/Nixon," "Angels and Demons" and "A Beautiful Mind." 

"A Beautiful Mind" won the Oscar for best picture in 2001. Rance has appeared in six films that were nominated for best picture.

Despite his roles in award winning films, Rance never achieved great personal fame as an actor.

Rance's granddaughter, movie star Bryce Dallas Howard, praised him for sticking with acting about a month before his death, according to People. 

"He's had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star," she said at the premiere for the film "Broken Memories." "He's never made the money that people dream of, and yet he's carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career as a character actor. He's an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life." 

After Ron announced his father's death on Twitter, condolences poured in from actors who had worked with Rance over the years. 

"Hey [Ron] my deepest condolences," tweeted Russell Crowe, the star of "A Beautiful Mind." "He was a fine man indeed was Rance Howard. Fine man, fine actor. Being in his company was always a pleasure." 

"Today we lost one of the greats: #RanceHoward, who I was proud to call a personal friend," tweeted actor Josh Gad. "When I first arrived in LA, he opened his home to me & made me feel like family. He was a legend, both as a person & performer. [Bryce] & [Ron] sending lots of love." 

Rance is survived by sons Ron and Clint, granddaughters Bryce and Paige and one great-grandchild. 

Sources: CNN, People, Ron Howard/Twitter, Russell Crowe/Twitter, Josh Gad/Twitter / Featured Image: BDS2006/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage via People, Valerie Macon/Getty Images via People

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