Rance Howard, Actor and the Father of Director Ron Howard, Dies at 89

Rance Howard, a veteran actor who appeared on television and in films for more than 60 years, including several movies made by his son, the director Ron Howard, died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 89.

Ron Howard announced the death on Twitter on Saturday afternoon. “A Depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history,” he wrote.

The elder Mr. Howard was also the father of the actor Clint Howard and grandfather of the actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard.

Mr. Howard began appearing on television in the 1950s in series that included “Kraft Theater” and the western “Bat Masterson.” In the 1970s he appeared several times on the family drama “The Waltons” as Dr. McIvers.

He also appeared on “Seinfeld,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Babylon 5” and “ER,” as well as Ron Howard’s sitcom “Happy Days” and Clint Howard’s series “Gentle Ben.”

He appeared in several of Ron Howard’s films, including “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Splash,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Parenthood” and “Grand Theft Auto,” which he and Ron wrote together.

Other film credits include “Chinatown” and the 2013 drama “Nebraska,” which was nominated for an Oscar as best picture. Mr. Howard played Uncle Ray, the brother of the character played by Bruce Dern.

Mr. Howard was born Harold Engle Beckenholdt on Nov. 17, 1928, in Duncan, Okla., a son of the former Ethel Tomlin and Engel Beckenholdt, a farmer. He changed his name when he became an actor.

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Source: New York Times