Ronny Howard had big dreams of hitting home runs
Opie swung for the fences and hoped to play center field.
It's hard to imagine a time when Ron Howard might've had a different career. Today, his life seems inextricably linked with Hollywood. Howard went from TV royalty to galactic movie overlord. Of course, classic television fans will forever know him as "Ronny" Howard, as he was credited when he played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show. Other roles followed, and in 1974, Howard began starring in Happy Days, a look back on the '50s through rose-tinted glasses, much like his earlier role in American Graffiti.
Howard eventually left Happy Days to focus his time and attention on developing his skillset as a director. The rest is history, but bears repeating anyhow: He's since made spectacular pieces of cinema like Backdraft, Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon. The only thing that rivals his filmography as a director is his list of appearances as an actor.
But this "sure thing" wasn't always the case. When Ron was still "Ronny," he dreamt of putting up numbers on the scoreboard instead of on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.
"When I grow up, I can play baseball in the baseball season and act in the acting season the rest of the year," said Howard, then just 10 years old, in a 1965 article in The Courier-Journal. It seems before giant contracts and executive producer credits, Howard was preoccupied with the same things any little boy would be.
The young actor's career in the pictures didn't mean he didn't have the trappings of a regular childhood either. For instance, the kid's pay grade was not above some serious household chores.
"Every Saturday morning, I do yardwork mostly. I pull up weeds, rake leaves and sweep the sidewalk."
Those chores must've given the kid a great work ethic, because Howard hasn't ever been out of work since. Between 1982 and 2022, Howard never went more than three years without a directing credit, racking up more than 25 feature films in the interim. When he's not directing, Howard has sporadically acted throughout the years. Most recognizably, he's served as the narrator on Arrested Development. In addition, Howard is the founder and co-chair of Imagine Entertainment, through which he has produced such hits as Friday Night Lights, 8 Mile, and Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, starring fellow former-child star Leonardo DiCaprio.
While that's all the makings of a legendary career and the envy of many a creative, in 1965, Howard was a little leaguer with dreams of going pro and playing left field.