A Mayberry State Of Mind
Ron Howard / Opie Taylor
Ron Howard was born in Oklahoma, 1 march 1954, into an acting family. He was in his first movie at 18 months (Frontier Woman). His first real part was at the age of 4 where he was a regular on "Playhouse 90". When cast as Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show" being to young to read his lines, his father assisted him by reading his lines to him to help him rehearse. Through the years on Andy,he was the wholesome small town boy. He had begun shooting films at age 15 with a Super-8 camera, and after high school spent two years in a film program at the University of Southern California, but then left, feeling he could learn more from actual experience. That first film was the hardest to finance, but he struck a deal with Roger Corman - he would star in _Eat My Dust! and Corman would produce Grand Theft Auto which Howard would direct, he also wrote the script and starred in it. It was a success, and his directorial career was jump-started. Ron has been married since 1975 to his high school sweetheart. Ron having numerous guest roles on in many of the popular shows of the time, he went on to a part in Happy Days where he played America's teenager as Richie Cunningham . There were some film roles, such as The Shootist for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, but his dream remained on directing.
The life of a child star is certainly not routine, but Ron's parents wanted his life to be as normal as possible along with Andy and the producers of The Andy Griffith Show, Ron was allowed to have as much of an outside work life as possible. Ron attended public schools and at age 15 even took nine months off work to play a basketball season. The transition from child actor to adult actor is always difficult, but for Ron the real transition was from child actor to adult director.
Opie Taylor, only son of Widowed Sheriff Andy Taylor was known for having a pet or two and basically a normal all American boy. Opie was part of the scouts, played baseball, football, went camping, fishing and knew how to shoot a gun. He had several crushes as a child, his first girl was a little girl named Charlotte who took his heart with her beautiful smile. Another girl we see Opie turn head over heels for would be Sharon Porter, heck at one time Opie even wrecked his tire and fender on his bike showing off for her. Then there was, Mary, Alice, Carter, who broke heart by dumping him for a date with Fred Simpson at Arnold Baily's birthday Party. We do learn later on in life Opie has become a news paper man, perhaps because of his experiments with Howie or maybe because of his truth telling, news breaking story about the Battle of Mayberry. Either way he was offered a job and took it with a paper in the big city. He has also gotten married and has a young son.