Rance Howard Dies; Actor, Father of Ron Howard Was 89

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Rance Howard, a popular character actor and the father of Ron Howard, passed away yesterday.

He was 89 years old.

Rance Howard

Ron broke the news on Twitter, making the following statement on Twitter on behalf of himself and his brother, Clint Howard.

"Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard's sons," he wrote. "Today he passed at 89."

"He stood especially tall 4 his ability to balance ambition w/great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history."

"We love & miss U Dad," he finished.

One part of Ron's statement in particular stands out: the part about how Rance's love for acting "changed the course of our family history.

Rance landed his first film role in 1956 -- he and his wife, Jean, appeared in a movie called Frontier Woman, and they even managed to get little baby Ron a part!

Rance and Ron Howard

Ron was only 18 months old at the time, but obviously it was the start of a long, extremely successful career in the film industry.

And we can't forget Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron's daughter and Rance's granddaughter -- she's been remarkably successful as well.

None of that would have happened if it wasn't for Rance.

After doing Frontier Woman, Rance went on to work steadily all the way up until his death.

Though he was never a breakout star, he really did have a remarkable career, with nearly 300 acting credits to his name.

That includes a few roles in movies that haven't been released yet, as well as movies that he signed on for but didn't get a chance to film.

Rance Howard and Bryce Dallas Howard

With such a long, impressive career, it's hard to pick out highlights.

But he did have guest roles on classic shows like The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, along with Ron.

Ron also cast him in several movies of his, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.

Just last week, Rance's latest movie, Broken Memories, had its premiere, and both Ron and Bryce Dallas Howard had some lovely words to say about him.

"He has an undying love of the process," Ron said, "which has made him appreciate every day on a film or television set."

"And he's never lost the youthful excitement for being a part of a process that tells a story that reaches audiences in different ways and reflects the work of a team of collaborators that share that excitement and that always rubbed off on me, that joy of being lucky enough to be among the storytellers."

About his remarkable history in the business, Bryce said that "He's had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star, he's never made the money that people dream of, and yet he's carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career of a character actor."

"He's an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life."

Our condolences to Rance's family -- it's clear he will be very missed.

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