Ron Howard’s father, Rance, had to explain to him at the age of five how babies are made.
Rance Howard is widely regarded as one of Hollywood’s best stage parents, having been harsh when necessary, dedicated at all times, and given unwavering support to his acting sons Ron and Clint.
According to the former Andy Griffith Show star’s author, the adoring father was also unflinchingly honest, telling his older son “the birds and the bees” when the situation demanded it.
Rance Howard made a significant contribution to the popularity of ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’
In an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, filmmaker Ron Howard reflected on how his character Opie Taylor altered dramatically early in the program as a result of his father.
Because the show was based on The Danny Thomas Show, Opie was first styled after Thomas’ on-screen son, Rusty Williams from that show. Rusty and Opie were both wise-cracking, smart-mouthed kids until Rance stood out.
“They wrote Opie a little differently early on,” Howard explained. “More like the traditional comedy kids who always had the wise-ass comebacks,” she says. Later, I learned that my father had discussed it with Andy.”
Rance was forced to explain the birds and bees to Ron after Clint was born.
Rance treated his sons with respect, explaining things to them that they didn’t understand. According to Ron Howard historian Beverly Gray, author of Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon, the father had the same mentality when it came to open discussions about sex.
“As [Ron] would tell a Playboy interviewer, he had known about male and female anatomy since he was five years old, when his mother was expecting [his brother, actor]Clint. Ronny posed the difficult questions; Rance sighed deeply and got down to draw realistic pictures to describe how babies work… This is a condensed version of the narrative. I hope you found it entertaining.