The Boys

by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

Ron Howard is possibly the most well-adjusted child star of all time.  As a very young child he starred on the hit 60s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show as Opie.  As a young adult he was Richie Cunnigham on the 70s megahit Happy Days. Into his adulthood he became an acclaimed and Oscar-winning director of such films as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Clint Howard is Ron’s little brother who has a huge filmography himself, starring in his own show as a kid (Gentle Ben, alongside an actual bear!), with years and years of guest roles in movies and TV shows to this day, notably in an early episode of Star Trek (the original) and most recently in Star Trek Strange New Worlds.  This particular feat has him as the actor with the longest span of appearance in the franchise.

The Boys is their joint memoir of their childhood and youth.  It’s a remarkable story not because of the stereotypical story of most child stars but because of how little drama there was.  It’s a story of incredibly supportive parents.  It’s the story of giving the kids even at their youngest ages a choice to commit or not to performing. For parents in the 50s and 60s, the senior Howards were remarkably upfront with their kids about life, both in acting and in general.  They wouldn’t hide from sensitive questions, explaining anything the kids asked.

Of course no life is perfect.  Ron struggled with being an actor when he really wanted to direct, growing up as a celebrity while still going to a public school with other kids bullying him for playing such a straight-laced goofy kid.

Clint had it worse, discussing his spiral of addiction while being clear that it really wasn’t because of his work as it was just “enjoying” drugs and drinking until it started tearing him apart.  That said, it’s clear that even through all of that he had the love and support of his family, doing their best without really knowing how to deal with it.

It’s unusual to read a memoir or a biography that’s basically a good happy story throughout, even taking Clint’s trouble into consideration. They seem like a close, caring family that worked together and supported each other with dignity and respect. The Boys is really a memoir or family, not Hollywood, and shows an unusual and positive side of growing up famous.