Ron Howard reflected on George Lucas' generosity amidst tough Hollywood negotiations

The Star Wars filmmaker made sure there was always room for humanity.

CBS Television Distribution

Sometimes, you just don't know how good you have it until you get something else. It's hard to measure intangible things like how well we're being treated. Kindness is hard to quantify. After all, it's all relative. But, the older we get, the more we realize that our work and our personhood deserve to be respected. We might not all be lucky enough to grow up in Mayberry, but we can at least hope our neighbors and coworkers act just as nice.

The truth is, though, not everybody is going to exhibit that same Southern hospitality we're used to on The Andy Griffith Show. Even Ron Howard, who grew up on the show as Opie, didn't get to take that kindness with him when the show wrapped up.

Show business is not known for being nice, and Howard experienced the cruel side of the industry while re-upping his contract for Happy Days. While the network didn't treat him with the kindness he deserved, Howard at least had a baseline comparison because of his dealings with one of Hollywood's true anomalies. Years earlier, Ron Howard starred in a movie that George Lucas made. The experience changed Howard's perception of how he ought to be treated. 

In a 2008 interview with USA Today, Howard revealed the feelings both experiences left him with.

"I had this tough, brutalizing, humiliating renegotiation with Paramount and ABC on Happy Days and it was my first dose of the industry really trying to impose its will. I remember calling George, because when American Graffiti turned out to be a hit, he took one of his 11 points on the film and divided it 10 ways and just gave it to the actors, so we all had one-tenth of one percent of American Graffiti. It would add up to quite a lot of money in 1973.

"I realized I never properly thanked him. I never even thanked him at all. It was just the hubris of youth. So I called him up in the wake of this really brutal negotiation and said: 'You are 180 degrees from what I just experienced, and I realized I never thanked you. What a great gesture, and I really appreciate it."

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3 Comments

KawiVulc 2 months ago
American Grafitti remains the best movie that guy ever made & casting Ron Howard was a very good decision...
Runeshaper 2 months ago
This article puts forth a good point; some people don't know what they have (good, bad, or otherwise) until they can compare to something else.
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