Putting the ''aww'' in ''audition'': How Ron Howard won his first role

He was 3 and tried out for an 8-year-old character!

CBS Television Distribution

Auditions are the only job interviews we let children do.

You'd have to be some kid to not get nervous about an upcoming audition. Knowing that your family's financial security depends on your performance is enough to rattle even the toughest tot. But in the case of Ron Howard, the conditions were just right for a successful introduction to life in Hollywood.

Show business for the legendary actor and director began in Baltimore, Maryland at the Hilltop Theater. There, young Ronny observed as his father, Rance, directed and starred in a production of Mr. Roberts. 

"At the age of 2, Ronny knew all of Ensign Pulver's lines," Rance told The San Francisco Examiner in 1967.

"Then, I went up to New York to a casting director's office. I hoped to get a part in a movie, The Journey, that they were going to film in Europe. The office was jammed with kids."

Luckily for the Howard family, Rance knew a promising young talent who just might fit the bill.

"I said, 'I have a son who is a very fine actor.' The director said, 'Bring your son up, I'll be glad to meet him.' He didn't know he was 3 years old.

"When he saw Ronny, he was rather stunned. 'What can the boy do?' he asked. I said, 'He can do Mr. Roberts."

He was an instant success.

"The part called for an 8-year-old boy. They were so impressed they wrote in a new role for a 3-year-old boy. We both went to Europe."


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4 Comments

LoveMETV22 2 months ago
Love Ron Howard. Successl follows him in many of his endeavors.
Big3Fan 2 months ago
Lotsa cute kids in film. This cute kid could act.
Lantern 2 months ago
It still boggles my mind when looking at (then) Ronny Howard as that lisping kid in The Music Man and as Opie in the first year of TAGS, and at (now) Ron Howard, Oscar-winning film director. His folks sure did something right.
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