ProMat Keynote Ron Howard Champions Creativity

By Lindsey Rooney, MHI Marketing Communications Coordinator

Longevity certainly describes the career of ProMat keynote Ron Howard. This popular actor and director made his stage debut when just 18 months old. Despite growing up on TV sets, Howard never lost his thrill for the entertainment business. Today, at age 68, Howard continues to pursue the creative projects that inspire him–even when he bangs into roadblocks.

It Was Difficult for Ron Howard to Transition to Directing

Although the Oklahoma native spent his childhood and teen years accruing fame for his roles in the “Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days,” nobody initially took him seriously when he tried to get a directing job. The studios were reluctant to hand a major motion picture over to a 23 year old. Howard eventually landed his directorial debut with the movie “Grand Theft Auto.” To seal the deal, he agreed to both write the script and star in the picture. It was the first and last movie that Howard both acted in and directed. However, Howard’s voice does star as the narrator in “Arrested Development,” a popular TV series that he directed.

He Learned How to Behave in Hollywood from his Father

In an interview with the American Academy of Achievement, Howard said that his father was a natural teacher. Many children actors are “just trained animals,” Howard said, but his father actually taught him the craft. Howard was greatly influenced by watching his father struggle to build his own acting career. He said that it taught him to appreciate the nobility of sticking with something that you love. As a result, Howard treats directing as “a chance to really keep challenging myself and keep trying to honor this process.”

Howard Made a Documentary about Word Central Kitchen

Ron Howard is well acquainted with fellow ProMat 2023 keynote speaker and chef José Andrés. The two met when Andrés’s World Central Kitchen provided meals to victims of a fire in Paradise, California. Inspired by Andrés, Howard asked to make a documentary about him. Andrés was not on the same page. It wasn’t until Howard promised to focus the documentary more on the World Central Kitchen than Andrés, that the chef finally agreed. Their partnership resulted in the 2022 documentary “We Feed People.”

ProMat Keynote Ron Howard Has Some Oscar Bling

In 2002, Howard won Best Director for “A Beautiful Mind.” The movie also nabbed Best Picture. In 2009, he received a Best Director nomination for “Frost/Nixon.” That movie was also nominated for Best Picture.

What Is Howard’s Most Recent Film?

He directed “Thirteen Lives,” which portrays the true story of a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. It was recently released as an Amazon original movie and has already won a few awards.

Will this Director Ever Star in a Show Again?

Howard has stayed behind the camera for many years, but there is a chance that he could return to center stage. As he recently told Variety, he would take a role if his daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, requested him. The actress/director has made such shows as the “Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”

Hear his ProMat 2023 Keynote

To learn more about Ron Howard and his creative process, attend “A Conversation with Ron Howard” at the McCormick Center in Chicago on March 22 at 1:00 PM. It’s one of four interesting keynotes offered at ProMat 2023. You can hear more about them in our recent MHI cast episode.