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The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family


The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family

It’s a story whose time has come around --- the childhood, early fame and adult, often separate pathways of siblings Ron and Clint Howard. Told by them in a rough chronology, trading narratives and commenting on one another’s contributions, THE BOYS conveys a genuine sense of the way a brotherly relationship could be and at times should be.

"THE BOYS conveys a genuine sense of the way a brotherly relationship could be and at times should be."

Ron is the older of the two, and his acting debut made Clint’s immersion inevitable. Both were coached and groomed by their father, who named himself Rance Howard and resolved to be the actor he wanted to be, rather than the Oklahoma farm boy that his destiny pointed toward. Their mother, Jean, was also an actress, and though neither parent ever hit the big time the way their sons did, they lived to a very real extent off their reflected glory. Not only that, but they ensured that their boys would never suffer the fate of some child stars --- total poverty in adulthood from parents’ selfish splurging. Rance and Jean carefully set up trust funds for them and served as examples of the simple American work ethic.

Ron’s name and his fame as Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show” and later as Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days” is better known than that of his younger sibling. However, Clint’s earliest roles were highly lauded at the time; he starred with Dennis Weaver in the series “Gentle Ben,” portraying a boy who loved a bear. Reaching maturity, Ron turned to directing and developed a hefty portfolio in that career. Clint acted, made music, and experienced some illegal highs and the lows that inevitably result, until he finally had enough. Both were generally willing and able to dig up cameo appearances and a few series characters for each other and for their parents.

It was after the death of their mom and dad, Jean in 2000 and Rance in 2017, that Ron and Clint began to reexamine their childhoods, which had once seemed so normal to them. In this bantering memoir, they recall just how not normal their lives really were, and how much they benefited from that divergence.

Hardly a page can be turned in this lively retrospective without sighting a celebrity name, but that is only part of the story. Ron and Clint, different in temperament and ambition, have created a lasting bond. Rumor has it that they have set in place plans to stage brotherly book tours, an idea that undoubtedly will have their audience cheering. Among a handful of stars who broke into television in its black-and-white heyday and survived to tell the tales, Ron and Clint are more than qualified to offer their experiences in this well-rounded portrait of the pitfalls and triumphs of childhood stardom.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on October 15, 2021

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family
by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

  • Publication Date: September 20, 2022
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0063065258
  • ISBN-13: 9780063065253