Believe it or not, you know who Rance Howard is if you have watched the Seinfeld episodes where Costanza ended up with women’s glasses or Newman ended up with the farmer’s daughter. He played the blind guy who George exchanged glasses with in Season 5, Episode 3. In his underwear no less. He recently passed away at age 89 and was the father of well-known actor and director Ron Howard and brother Clint Howard. In his memory, Ron tweeted the following tribute to his father:
“Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. 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.”
The tweet summarizes what his father’s life was about, dedicated to, and how his influence shaped three generations of Howards. Today it is passÃ© to follow in your father’s footsteps and adopt the line of work he has as your own. But there was a time that was the norm. It actually is pretty amazing that all of Rance’s children followed the same trail.
There are several unique hidden messages in this tweet, messages that Ron likely would want to be noticed in the current culture of Hollywood.
He said he was blessed to have Rance as his father. Though some may see this as a generic usage of the word, being blessed is something that comes from God, not man. His progeny would gain the benefit of his moral beliefs, something that some of Ron’s Hollywood colleagues could use a fair dose of based on recent events.
Balancing ambition with integrity is a hidden message to both the men and women of Hollywood. People everywhere have ambition of one kind or another. The ability to prosper without sacrificing your moral values, that is, keeping your integrity is difficult in and of itself, but maintaining that balance for a lifetime is more than an achievement. As a fan of Ron Howard, I would hope that the integrity of Rance was passed down not by heredity, but by example. It is easy to compromise your integrity in Hollywood for personal gain.
Ron knew that his huge success was largely because of his father. Fathers have taken a back seat to mothers for several decades now, so it is good that Ron wanted the world to know that it was his father that laid the foundation for that success. The fact that Rance was a depression-era farm boy is a clear indication that he knew the valleys and peaks of life, and through all of that was able to gain a realistic perspective along the way that he passed down to this children.
Anyone who loses their father goes through a crisis of sorts, especially when the person recognizes the importance of their father to the place where they have landed in life. Ron obviously recognized this, and he wanted the world to know that his father’s influence did not go unnoticed. While Rance Howard was not a household name to many people, Ron Howard was, and he made sure that his success was not solely his own.
We might want to reflect on Ron’s words from a grateful son to an admired father. His affection for his father is clear, and it extends beyond his success as an actor. It has sat comfortably in his home throughout his entire life.