The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family
By Ron Howard and Clint Howard
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Malcolm Gladwell says, “I’ve read dozens of Hollywood memoirs. But The boys is the only… a fascinating story of a great life in show business. What a family. What a story. What a delightful read, insight into the ways of Hollywood’s Who’s Who, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Harrison Ford, Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Shirley Jones and of course, The Boys.
No wonder books are flying off the shelves. One of the first things learned about the family is that their REAL last name was BECKENHOLDT when they lived and worked on a family farm up the road from Duncan, Oklahoma, where Rance and Jean Beckenholdt made their living as farmers. Jean went by the name “Sophisticated Hicks” because their interests ranged from the performing arts to Little League, “grouching” in the living room, and other “bididness” as Ron and Clint grew up.
The young couple had stars in their eyes on acting, and they escaped to New York and soon normal growth found them on the road to California where the boys were seasoned with acting roles early on. actor for Ron (soon to be recognizable as “Opie” in Andy Griffith fame) and his brother Clint, who began his acting career at the age of three. Their life wasn’t immediate fame, and after changing Beckenholdt to Howard, they actually had normal lives as much as growing up in Hollywood could be. normal while living among the grown-ups.
Their lives were impacted early on by ambition to act, but their stories include bullying at school, protective parents, what to do when jobs stop calling. The memoirs are funny, surprising and heartwarming stories as well as excerpts from the lives of filmmakers and actors. Ron set his sights on directing early on and the road to his directorial debut included the music man and continued with The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days with the Fonz, a good mix between his passion and a completely normal life. Clint and Ron both thrived in the movies, and the boys remained full of adventure and camaraderie throughout. Their lives were lived during their formative years with loving family and friends.
The story is entertaining and fun and includes wonderful images that we can all see while thinking about The boys. These boys enjoyed all the fantasy and excitement and the development of integrity, honesty and love from family and friends over the 48 years covered by the book. Fame sometimes ruins child actors, but The boys is living proof that good things can happen to people lucky enough to live in Oklahoma before their dreams and values take them to the big screen.
Thanks to Full Circle Book Store for sharing these books with Friday readers.