Ron Howard speaks about his career in film and television


Niki Gaines/Guilfordian

“Have you ever had to call your parent and tell them you had to cut them out of your movie?” asked Ron Howard, an award-winning director and former child star. “That happened (to me) twice.”

Ron Howard played the role of Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show,” which was set in North Carolina. On Oct. 23, he returned to have a conversation with distinguished film critic, historian and author Leonard Maltin for Guilford College’s Bryan Series.

The event was held in Greensboro Coliseum from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Of the 3,000 people who attended the event, most enjoyed it.

“I normally feel like I cannot really connect with the speakers, but I was absolutely hooked as soon as (Howard) started singing ‘The Music Man,’” said junior Lee Sisson.

Many liked the event for Howard’s authenticity.

“It didn’t seemed forced, and it felt real,” said Anne Baumgartner, a Greensboro citizen. “He was here just to talk about his career, and he wasn’t here to sell anything like many past Bryan Series speakers. I appreciated that.”

Manager of Prospect Research Gertrude Beal shared a similar opinion.

“I thought this was one of our best (Bryan Series events),” said Beal. “I like the stories that the speakers tell. I think that’s what all of Guilford’s about”

Howard spoke about his experiences being a child actor and transitioning to becoming a director.

“I did (The Andy Griffith Show) from the time I was six to the time I was fourteen,” said Howard. “Fourteen-year-olds don’t want to cry, but when filming was done, I cried. I loved those people, and I loved that environment.”

He also told the audience about his family and how his father helped him throughout his career.

“(My dad) was a great teacher,” said Howard. “He was always there helping me learn my lines before I could even read.”

He also spoke about the role of his family in his films.

“(My dad) twisted my arm to put my mom in ‘Apollo 13,’” said Howard. “He came to me and asked, ‘You know who I think would be good in the part of Tom Hanks’ mother?’ I wound up auditioning her … She was great.”

Chris Plott, a Greensboro native, also enjoyed the event.

“(Howard’s visit) was a good insight on what it is like to spend your whole life as an actor and director,” said Plott. “He pointed out some interesting things that I would have no idea about otherwise like the schooling of a child actor.”

Howard also spoke about how he discovered his passion for directing movies.

“I liked talking to the sound people and the camera people, and the actors were fascinating people too,” said Howard. “I liked working with them all. I realized who got to hang with them all? Who got to laugh with them all? The director. So that job must be pretty good.”

This event was a huge opportunity to learn information not normally found anywhere else.

“I heard pieces of information about his background and the films he did that I think you would never find out in previous articles about him,” said Janet MacKenzie, a Greensboro resident.

In spite of this, there were a few criticisms of the event.

“(The event was at) a different place than they normally have it,” said Joe Dimaio, a Durham resident and parent of two former Guilford students. “Before it was in the War Memorial Auditorium, which I liked better.”

Another problem was getting Guilford students to the event.

“It is a shame that more Guilford College students aren’t partaking (in events like these) because it is free, and these are some serious, dynamic and interesting people we have talking to us,” said senior Lillie Reiter in an email interview.

Upcoming speakers for the 2014–15 Bryan Series include Bill Bryson, Robert Reich, Margaret Atwood and Anderson Cooper.