Actor Rance Howard, father of Ron and Clint Howard and a prolific actor in his own right, has died at the age of 89. Ron Howard broke the sad news to fans on social media late on Saturday. Howard started his career when he was 20-years old, as part of a touring theater company. He acted alongside Henry Fonda in the play Mister Roberts, playing the role of Lindstrom across the country for a year and a half. Earlier this month, his granddaughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard, praised Howard at the Broken Memories premiere and said that she admired how he stuck to acting despite never really hitting it big.
Ron Howard took to Twitter to share the news of Rance Howard's death while also paying tribute to the late actor. Ron Howard shared that his father changed the course of the Howard family history when he started acting. Ron had this to say.
"Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard's sons. Today he passed at 89. He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad.
Rance Howard passed away in Los Angeles, but no other details have been announced at this time. As previously mentioned, the late actor was recently praised by Bryce Dallas Howard who paid tribute to his 65-year career. She had this to say.
"He's had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star, he's never made the money that people dream of, and yet he's carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career of a character actor. He's an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life."
Howard was born Harold Rance Beckenholdt in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Ethel Cleo (née Tomlin) and Engel Beckenholdt, a farmer. He changed his name to "Rance Howard" when he became an actor. Howard studied at the University of Oklahoma. Rance Howard had an acting career that spanned several decades since the 1950s, appearing in several of his son's movies including Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Splash, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Parenthood, and Grand Theft Auto. Other movie credits include Chinatown and the 2013 drama Nebraska. On television, he appeared in many series including Seinfeld, Murder She Wrote, NCIS: Los Angeles, Grey's Anatomy, and Happy Days.
Rance Howard had been married to the late Jean Speegle Howard, having met as teenagers doing a touring children's production in Oklahoma of classic fairy tales. They married on the tour dressed in their costumes, with the bride dressed as Snow White and the groom as a Huntsman. They were married until her death in 2000. Howard later married journalist Judy Howard, who passed away earlier this year.
As the news of Rance Howard's death began to spread, Hollywood took to social media to pay tribute to the late great actor and father of Ron and Clint Howard. Russell Crowe, who starred alongside Rance Howard in A Beautiful Mind, had this to say.
"Hey[email protected] my deepest condolences. He was a fine man indeed was Rance Howard. Fine man, fine actor. Being in his company was always a pleasure."
Family friend and Frozen actor Josh Gad also took to Twitter and had this to say.
"Today we lost one of the greats: Rance Howard, who I was proud to call a personal friend. When I first arrived in LA , he opened his home to me & made me feel like family. He was a legend, both as a person & performer.[email protected] &[email protected] sending lots of love."
Rance Howard is survived by his sons, granddaughters, Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard, and one great-grandchild. You can read the announcement of Rance Howard's death below, courtesy of Ron Howard's Twitter account. Rest In Peace, Rance Howard, you will be missed.
Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. Today he passed at 89. He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad.— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) November 25, 2017
My grandfather, the patriarch of our family’s favorite poem, he could recite it from heart. I think I’ll do the same now. pic.twitter.com/48oxLsKXte— Bryce Dallas Howard (@BryceDHoward) November 26, 2017
On every TV show there's always someone, guest or recurring cast, who the rest don't like. But everyone on #babylon5 loved #rancehoward. He was charming, professional, funny, smart...if we could've adopted him, we would've. His loss diminishes us. @RealRonHoward— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) November 26, 2017
RIP RANCE HOWARD! A LEGENDARY ACTOR & A KIND GOOD HEARTED MAN WHOM I HAD THE PLEASURE OF DIRECTING ONCE! HE WAS AMAZINGLY PROFESSIONAL AFTER 50 ODD YRS N THE BIZ! HE GAVE ME A GR8 COMPLIMENT WHEN HE TOLD ME MY DIRECTING STYLE WAS MUCH LIKE THAT OF HIS SON RON HOWARD! MY HEART &— Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) November 26, 2017
2 mos ago I was leaning across the counter in an Arizona diner, flirting with #RanceHoward in a scene from @appleseedmovie - the 2nd film we've done together. He was so sweet, so charming, so vibrant, and so talented. And now he's no longer with us and it's hard to believe.— Adrienne Barbeau (@abarbeau) November 26, 2017
Today we lost one of the greats: #RanceHoward, who I was proud to call a personal friend. When I first arrived in LA , he opened his home to me & made me feel like family. He was a legend, both as a person & performer. @BryceDHoward & @RealRonHoward sending lots of love.— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 26, 2017
Actor #RanceHoward passed away today. With an impressive 274 credits to his name, I’ll still always remember him as the detective in one of my all-time favorites #Cocoon. I was lucky & honored to be part of a Disney project with Mr. Howard a few years back. May He rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/L5IDpa4m4N— Jon Donahue (@JonDonahue) November 26, 2017
Condolences to Ron Howard, whose dad Rance Howard has passed at 89. I first met Rance while editing Grand Theft Auto (he co-wrote with Ron) and he eventually became one of my favorite go-to actors on numerous projects. A stand-up guy who worked till the end. pic.twitter.com/3wJ0Makbb5— Joe Dante (@joe_dante) November 26, 2017
RIP Rance Howard. He came on Workaholics (as charity, I’m guessing) joining his son Clint for the episode and was hilarious. #fishsoup— Anders Holm (@ders808) November 26, 2017