How did child star Ron Howard turn out so... normal?
Opie grew up to be... fairly balanced!
Child stars are tricky. The seldom few who grow up to be healthy adults are usually the exception that proves the rule. More often, they're just not equipped to deal with their fame. They don't have the tools necessary to navigate the destructive sides of Hollywood, which is fair enough. They're children, after all. Fame can rapidly mature someone, but not in a way that lets them flourish.
So, what's the whole deal with Ron Howard, then? The guy didn't just survive being a child actor... He thrived because of it. What sets him apart from so many peers who spiraled in the wake of their fame?
Fortunately, a 1996 interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram touched on this subject, and Howard spoke at length about how he stayed afloat.
He began the interview by cautioning other parents not to make the same decisions his parents made.
"I always try to discourage parents from putting their children in this business, especially little kids," Howard explained.
"I'm one of few child actors who got through it without a lot of anger and resentment. Most child actors aren't taught how to act. They're sort of taught how to perform. They're like trained animals. I think I made it through because I was working toward something. I had a different dream."
That dream paid off in dividends, and not just for Howard's mental health. The Academy Award-winning director has one of the most consistent production companies in Hollywood, Imagine Entertainment. Together with producing partner Brian Grazer, Howard has created some of the most successful—and personally gratifying—films in entertainment history.
"My dad gave me a lot of confidence and was teaching me how to do it, teaching me to think," said Howard. "So I was actually learning a craft. The things I learned as a child I was able to apply as an adult, whereas a lot of child actors have to unlearn the cutesy kid tricks that sabotage them later when they're trying to operate on a more adult level."