Clint Howard: ''Ron's shadow is a pretty cool place to be''

The inside scoop from the star of Ice Cream Man

When two siblings occupy the same professional space, we tend to look for a Cain and Abel narrative. It's so fun to read about sibling rivalry because it's an experience most of us can relate to. Mom and dad had finite approval to dish out; the competition was sometimes fierce. That's why when we look at two actors who are brothers, we might expect to read the details of their heated contention. Sometimes, though, a story is great because of how unexpected it feels. That's the case with Clint Howard's career, which ran parallel to brother Ron's but left no room for resentment. 

In five episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, Clint Howard played Leon, a neighbor kid a few years younger than Opie. Clint and Ron Howard would continue to share projects throughout their careers. Clint was on Happy Days with his brother, and Ron directed Clint in movies like Cocoon, Splash, Parenthood, Apollo 13, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And while Ron may have had a higher-profile acting and directing career, Clint Howard has been working consistently for sixty years. Frequently, those roles are fantastic.

During the time that Ron Howard was honing his skills as a Hollywood super-director, Clint was racking up dozens of acting credits in horror and sci-fi B-movies.  Movies such as Evilspeak, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker, Leprechaun 2, The Dentist 2, and Ice Cream Man add up to one of the most impressive résumés in cult movie history.

"Ron does take after take after take. That's one thing that irritates me about him" Clint told Knight Ridder Newspapers in 1999. By comparison, Clint was in movies that were more fun to shoot, according to him.

Ron Howard was first able to chase his directorial ambitions in a Roger Corman picture. The legendary producer gave the elder Howard a shot at directing Grand Theft Auto. While Ron grew into directing, Clint was happier acting. To date, he's appeared in twelve Roger Corman movies.

"He lives vicariously through me from time to time," said Clint of his older brother. "When he knows I work for Roger, he'll always call and ask me about it, and he'll quiz me about the guerilla filmmaking experience. I think he misses that some. I know he talks about hoping to one day be able to go off and make a tiny little movie that doesn't have to make a lot of money."

Miraculously, despite the side-by-side trajectories, neither Howard brother cites any career-induced friction in their relationship. Ron was on record saying he loved casting Clint in his movies. Clint, too, spoke lovingly of his brother, describing Ron as "nurturing."

"Ron's shadow is a pretty cool place to be," he said. "Hey, better to be Ron Howard's brother than to be Son of Sam's brother."

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McGillahooala 11 months ago
If I had to have one of them move next door, I would prefer Clint. He seems to be an all around good down to earth person. Ron is part of the Hollywood group think crowd and goes along with whatever the herd demands to keep from getting canceled.
JHP 11 months ago
I really wonder in TAGS if he had the same jelly sandwich in every ep

echowilson 11 months ago
Clint was on TV show called Gentle Ben. He plays a young boy who befriends a bear.
Runeshaper 12 months ago
Glad to hear they get along so well!
KawiVulc 12 months ago
I think Clint would have had a great career no matter who his brother was but the Howard & Howard connection is way cool.
Andybandit 12 months ago
CH was RH shadow. At least CH got to be in the movies that RH directed
JedFife 12 months ago
I really enjoyed the book that they wrote together.
tootsieg JedFife 12 months ago
I agree. Very good book.
MrsPhilHarris 12 months ago
He was so cute when he was on Gentle Ben.
texasluva 12 months ago
Clint has done well for himself. I've liked some of the movies he was in. Though movies like Evilspeak, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker, Leprechaun 2, The Dentist 2, and Ice Cream Man, never seen them. They are sort of the newer era after the real B era I grew up in. Those I have watched an enjoyed the most. Later I watched all of Ron's directed movies because I knew they were great. No slight on Clint and good they both got along and helped one another to get where they ended up in life.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Great story MeTV Staff ! It is good to hear that Ron and Clint share mutual respect and they both speak admirably of each other.
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