Ron Howard has kind of had an unprecedented career in Hollywood.
He hit it big at the age of six acting in The Andy Griffith Show way back in 1960. He had more success starring in American Graffiti – which then inspired the 50s-themed Happy Days sitcom.
His brother Clint found success acting in hit TV shows Gentle Ben and Star Trek.
The brothers were two of the busiest child actors of the 60s and 70s, working with Hollywood royalty like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Harrison Ford and George Lucas.
But while the brothers were earning big money on soundstages, they were bullied in school for being stars. They had to learn to navigate the real world while memorizing scripts in a made-up world.
But the Howards were a tight family, with Mom and Dad doing their best to protect them from the downsides of Hollywood. Including the possible threat of kidnapping when the kids became stars.
As they aged, the acting jobs began to dry up. Ron managed to pivot into directing and Clint spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse.
Ron took his knowledge of Hollywood soundstages and became a founding partner of Imagine Entertainment, which led to an Oscar-winning directing career with hit films like Splash, Apollo 13, Cocoon and A Beautiful Mind. Clint eventually found success as a character actor in over 250 movies and TV shows.
The book has a unique structure, it goes back and forth between Ron and Clint as they remember the beats of their lives – and it’s fascinating to read their different takes on the same situations, and to see how they dealt with each other’s successes and failures.
The book is hard to put down. Highly recommended.
Top 3 Reasons To Read This Book:
1. The inside stories – the brothers have such a keen eye for detail and bring you inside the movies and TV shows they worked on – and the people they worked with – like how George Lucas barely directed the actors in American Graffiti – and how Andy Griffith stayed a positive presence in Ron’s life.
2. The heartbreaking dynamic of their father Rance Howard, a struggling actor, watching as his young sons get all the acting work.
3. And to see how hard their parents worked to give the boys a normal upbringing – in spite of the fact their sons were earning six-figure salaries when they were under 10 years of age.