A Conversation with Ron Howard
Program Date: April 22, 2017
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of the film and television world’s most enduring legends, with nearly sixty years in the entertainment industry as producer, director, writer, and star of some of the seminal works of his generation.
At The Richmond Forum, Howard shared stories from his early days on Andy Griffith and growing up with actors as parents, to working with actress Bette Davis and his involvement in the cult favorite comedy series Arrested Development.
Richmond locals The Bellevue Rhythmaires opened the evening with their signature blend of Americana roots music. They paid tribute to the evening’s speaker with a rendition of the theme from The Andy Griffith Show before their performance of the National Anthem.
Wells Fargo Richmond area president and Forum board member Carroll D. Swenson welcomed our guests with a musical tribute of his own: “Wells Fargo Wagon,” as sung by Ronnie Howard in the 1962 film version of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man.
Ron Howard took the stage with moderator Linda Holmes to begin the evening.
Ron Howard Speaker Bio
As partner in Imagine Films Entertainment, Ron Howard has led the company’s creative team to such box office hits as Rush, The Da Vinci Code, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Cocoon. Howard has also earned multiple awards for such prestigious motion pictures as Frost/Nixon, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, and Apollo 13.
The versatile filmmaker won a Best Director Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, which was also named Best Picture of 2002. His prior directorial effort was the #1 box office smash of 2000, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He recently earned Best Director and Best Picture nominations for Frost/Nixon. His true-life drama Apollo 13 received a total of nine nominations from the Academy, including Best Picture of 1996.
In 2003, Howard was awarded the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts for his contributions to cinema. That same year, he and producer Brian Grazer received the first annual Awareness Award from the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign for their work on A Beautiful Mind.
The Producers Guild of America gave Howard and Grazer their Milestone Award in January 2009. Howard’s other honors include, the Big Apple Award from NYU’s Tisch School of Cinematic Arts in 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award in 2010, and the Chicago Film Festival’s Gold Hugo Career Achievement Award in 2010. The Museum of Moving Images honored him in 2005 and the American Cinema Editors in 2006. He most recently received the U.K.’s Empire Magazine Most Inspirational Award.
Howard has served as an executive producer on a number of award-winning television shows, such as the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, Fox’s comedy Arrested Development, which he narrated, and NBC’s Parenthood. He also executive produced the hit children’s series Curious George. In 2013, after a seven-year hiatus, the Emmy-winning series Arrested Development returned with a fourth season exclusively on Netflix. Howard served as producer and narrator for the series.
Howard and long-time producing partner Brian Grazer first collaborated on the hit comedies Night Shift and Splash. The pair co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 to create independently produced feature films Friday Night Lights and 8 Mile and television programs 24, Felicity and Parenthood. In 2015, they released the feature film In the Heart of the Sea, based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s book chronicling the journey that inspired Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick.
Howard began his career in film as an actor, first appearing in The Journey and The Music Man, then as ‘Opie’ on the long-running television series The Andy Griffith Show. Howard later starred in the popular series Happy Days.
Linda Holmes Moderator Bio
Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for National Public Radio and the host of the podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. She also appears regularly on NPR’s radio shows, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition. She covers movies, television, books, and a wide variety of other cultural topics, and has contributed work about everything from Mad Men to Guardians Of The Galaxy to the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to the intrigue of replacing classic Monopoly pieces. She’s also written for New York magazine and TV Guide.
Linda has moderated live conversations with B.J. Novak, Shonda Rhimes, and others for the Smithsonian Associates and took the stage with Daily Show host Trevor Noah for a live interview at NPR’s annual Weekend in Washington event in 2015. She also regularly engages in conversation with leading authors at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, including Elizabeth Strout and Jane Smiley.
In her prior life, Linda was an attorney dealing primarily with labor and employment law and worked for the Minnesota legislature. In her free time, she watches far too many romantic comedies and bakes bread.