The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard
Best Biographies & Memoirs (Audiobook)
in Biographies of Movie Directors (Kindle)
“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity – but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.
With the perspective of time and success – Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor – the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector – sometimes over-protector – from the snares and traps of Hollywood.
By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, The Boys is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.
Happy Days, The Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben – these shows captivated millions of TV viewers in the ’60s and ’70s. Join award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and audience-favorite actor Clint Howard as they frankly and fondly share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.
Who doesn’t love Opie (if you are old enough to remember him) or Richie Cunningham (still not old enough?)? How about the movies Night Shift, Splash, Apollo 13, or The Da Vinci Code? There are literally so many awards and nominations, they have to be broken down into tables for acting, directing, writing, Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. A tremendous life achievement.
So when I saw The Boys in audiobook format, I had to give it a listen. Gees, what a charmed life! I gotta say, he was one extremely lucky kid. Not to say he hasn’t worked hard for it. He has—from the time he was a small boy. I must say also that it is a powerful story of his parents and I was awestruck repeatedly at the wisdom, sacrifice, and love his parents showered on their two boys.
Yes, two boys, and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know Clint Howard as a name or as Ron’s brother, but as a character actor. I do recognize his face though again, he’s not been leading man material.
As you might expect, Ron Howard delivers his memories with an easy, relaxed, and sincere tone. The stories for the most part were uplifting, revealing, and confirmation of the “what you see is what you get” person. It’s personal. Interesting in that even with the obvious spread in ages between the brothers, there were times when they remembered the situation differently. Their points of view shaded by their own memories and experience.
Clint’s memories and experiences as he grew older took a darker path, not that his moral compass tilted so much as his temperament was 180 degrees from that of his big brother—and his delivery reflects some of the lack of power he wielded under the shadow of Ron.
Not always in chronological order, the narration caught backstories as a way of leading into the next event that took their lives through the process of becoming major name-worthy persons. They both did some mighty sacrificing for a normal childhood and still managed to reap the kind of knowledge you don’t get in a book.
Clint lacked the focus, the drive to go behind the scenes that Ron had and as an actor sweated in each and every role.
Not delivered with the dynamics and sense of humor that Matthew McConaughey threw into his memoir, (McConaughey is an in-your-face actor), the brothers nonetheless combined their memories in a loving memorial for their dad (more so than their mother), who in his turn sacrificed his own acting career for that of his boys whom he carefully nurtured, guided, and protected in their road to the pinnacle of Hollywood. You couldn’t hope for a more powerful legacy.
I downloaded this audiobook from my lovely library and thoroughly enjoyed the journey of child actors that have endured through sixty-plus years of growth in the entertainment industry.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Rich & Famous Biographies, Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Listening Length: 13 hrs 18 mins
Narrator: Ron Howard, Clint Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Boys [Amazon]
(No listed bios on either Amazon or Goodreads author pages.)
Ron Howard (L) (1954-), born in Duncan, OK. Director, producer, screenwriter, actor. Married to Cheryl since 1975. First known as Opie from the Andy Griffith Show from 1960 through 1968. He also starred in American Graffiti and then Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. His heart, however, was in directing and he has an impressive list of credits. He has four children. For more information, see Wikipedia.
Clint Howard – (1959-), born in Burbank, CA. American actor, writer, and producer. Character actor best remembered for his role in Gentle Ben and later in Star Trek. Married to Kat. For additional information on Clint Howard, see his biography.
©2022 V Williams