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Rance Howard, Actor and Father of Director Ron Howard, Dead at 89

People logo People 11/25/2017 Julie Mazziotta
Rance Howard, Ron Howard posing for the camera © Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Actor Rance Howard died Saturday at age 89, his son — director Ron Howard — announced on Twitter.

“Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons. Today he passed at 89,” Ron, 63, tweeted, referring to his brother Clint Howard, who is also an actor. “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.”

Rance started his career at age 20, as part of a touring theater company. He acted alongside Henry Fonda in the play Mister Roberts, playing the role of Lindstrom across the country for a year and a half.

Rance went on to score roles in dozens of major films, including Cool Hand Luke, Psycho, A League of Their Own and more. Son Ron also cast him in many of his films, from Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind to Cinderella Man.

Rance was married to Jean Speegle Howard, Ron and Clint’s mother, until her death in 2000. He then married journalist Judy Howard, who passed away in 2017. Rance is also a grandfather to actresses Bryce Dallas and Paige Howard.

Rance Howard wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera © Valerie Macon/Getty Images Rance Howard

Earlier this month, Bryce Dallas praised her grandfather at the Broken Memories premiere and said she admired how he stuck to acting despite never really hitting it big.

“He’s had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star,” she said, adding, “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.”

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