Rance Howard


Rance Howard was a well-known American actor and filmmaker who had a long and successful career in the entertainment industry. He was born on November 17, 1928, in Duncan, Oklahoma, and passed away on November 25, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his career, Rance Howard appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, and worked alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. In this blog post, we will explore the life and career of Rance Howard, from his early days in show business to his most memorable roles.

Early Life and Career

Rance Howard

Early Years and Family Background

Rance Howard was born into a family of farmers in Oklahoma. His father, Engel Beckenholdt Howard, was of German descent, while his mother, Ethel Cleo (Tomlin) Howard, was of English, Scottish, and Irish ancestry. Rance was the youngest of their three children, and he grew up in a rural environment where he learned to appreciate nature and hard work.

After graduating from high school, Rance Howard moved to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He attended the University of Oklahoma and later the University of Southern California, where he earned a degree in drama. He then began his acting career in earnest, appearing in numerous stage productions and small roles in movies and TV shows.

Acting Career

Early Roles and Bonanza

Rance Howard’s first major role came in 1956 when he appeared in the movie “Frontier Woman.” He then went on to appear in several TV shows, including “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” However, it was his role as Dr. Willard Adams in the Western series “Bonanza” that really put him on the map. He appeared in a total of 11 episodes of the show between 1960 and 1972, and his performance was widely praised by critics and audiences alike.

Later Career and Collaborations with Ron Howard

After “Bonanza,” Rance Howard continued to work steadily in Hollywood, appearing in movies such as “Chinatown,” “Apollo 13,” and “A Beautiful Mind.” He also appeared in several TV shows, including “Seinfeld,” “The X-Files,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” However, it was his collaborations with his son, Ron Howard, that really stood out. The two worked together on numerous projects, including “Splash,” “Cocoon,” “Apollo 13,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Rance Howard’s last film role was in the 2017 movie “Broken Memories.”

Personal Life and Legacy

Marriage and Family

Rance Howard was married to Jean Speegle Howard, an actress and acting coach, from 1949 until her death in 2000. The couple had two sons, Ron and Clint, both of whom went on to have successful careers in Hollywood. Rance Howard was also the grandfather of actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard.

Legacy and Contributions to Hollywood

Rance Howard was a beloved figure in Hollywood, known for his talent, kindness, and professionalism. He was a mentor to many young actors and filmmakers, and his contributions to the entertainment industry will not be forgotten. In 2018, the Ron Howard-directed movie “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was dedicated to Rance Howard’s memory, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of actors and filmmakers.


Rance Howard was a true Hollywood legend, with a career that spanned over six decades. He appeared in countless movies and TV shows, and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. However, he will always be remembered for his kindness, his professionalism, and his love of acting. Rance Howard was a true inspiration to us all, and his legacy will continue to live on for many years to come.

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