Rance Howard

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Rance Howard
Rance Howard, December 2007
BornHarold Rance Beckenholdt
(1928-11-17) November 17, 1928 (age 85)
Duncan, Oklahoma, United States
Years active1956–present
Spouse(s)Jean Speegle Howard (1949–2000; her death)
Judy Howard (2001–present)
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Rance Howard
Rance Howard, December 2007
BornHarold Rance Beckenholdt
(1928-11-17) November 17, 1928 (age 85)
Duncan, Oklahoma, United States
Years active1956–present
Spouse(s)Jean Speegle Howard (1949–2000; her death)
Judy Howard (2001–present)

Rance Howard (born November 17, 1928) is an American actor who has starred in film and on television.

Early life[edit]

Howard was born Harold Rance Beckenholdt in Duncan, Oklahoma, the son of Ethel Cleo (née Tomlin) and Engel Beckenholdt, a farmer. He changed his name to "Rance Howard" when he became an actor.[1] He married actress Jean Speegle Howard in Burbank, California in 1949. Their sons are actor/director Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard. He is also the grandfather of actress Bryce Dallas Howard. His son Ron was born while he served three years in the United States Air Force.[2][3]

Acting career[edit]

Howard attended the University of Oklahoma, where he went to drama school. His professional acting career began in 1948 when he went to New York City, auditioned and landed a job in a children's touring company. The role that got him noticed nationally TV and film was playing the part of Lindstrom in the touring company of the play "Mister Roberts" with Henry Fonda in 1950, playing the character for about a year-and-a-half in major cities across the U.S.[4]

Both Rance and and oldest son Ron, who was 2 at the time, made their feature film debuts together in the 1956 western "Frontier Woman." Later in the 1950s, Rance's roles included his TV debut in the series Kraft Theatre, on which he appeared three times in 1956-57.[5]

After son Ron went on to play Opie in The Andy Griffith Show in the early 1960s, Rance had guest parts in five episodes of the show.[6] Howard was known best for his role on television in 25 episodes of the 1960s TV series Gentle Ben -- which starred his youngest son Clint -- as Henry Broomhauer, a backwoodsman who befriended the family. Another well-known TV role was on Babylon 5 in which he had a recurring role as David Sheridan, the father of Babylon 5 captain John Sheridan. He also starred in the short-lived 2000 TV series Driving Me Crazy. His television guest appearances include Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Kung Fu, The Waltons, CBS Schoolbreak Special 1986 episode The Drug Knot, Angel, 7th Heaven, Cold Case, That's So Raven, and two appearances on Seinfeld, both as different characters.

Howard has acted in over 100 films, including the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke, The Music Man (in an uncredited bit part playing "Oscar Jackson"), and many other films. He also appeared as Dottie and Kit's father in A League of Their Own. In 2013, he played Woody Grant's brother in Nebraska. He often takes parts as a priest or reverend, county sheriff, or western marshal, and has made numerous appearances in films by Joe Dante.

Howard has acted in most of his son Ron's films including Splash, Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon. The exceptions are Night Shift, Willow, Backdraft, Ransom, EDtv and The Da Vinci Code. .



YearFilmRoleOther notes
1967Cool Hand LukeSheriffUncredited
1974ChinatownIrate Farmer
1974Where the Lilies BloomRoy Luther
1977Grand Theft AutoNed SlinkerDirected by son Ron
1984The Lonely GuyMinister
SplashMcColloughDirected by son Ron
1985CocoonSt. Petersburg DetectiveDirected by son Ron
1986Gung HoMayor Conrad ZwartDirected by son Ron
1987InnerspaceSupermarket Customer
1989The 'BurbsDetective #2
ParenthoodDean at CollegeDirected by son Ron
1992Far and AwayTomlinDirected by son Ron
Universal SoldierJohn Devreux
1992TicksSheriff Parker
1994Ed WoodOld Man McCoy
Little GiantsMinister
The PaperAlicia's DoctorDirected by son Ron
1995Apollo 13ReverendDirected by son Ron
Children of the Corn III: Urban HarvestEddie Calhoun
1996Ghosts of MississippiRalph Hargrove
Independence DayChaplain
Mars Attacks!Texan Investor
Sgt. BilkoMr. Robbins
1998PsychoMr. Lowery
Small SoldiersHusband
2000How the Grinch Stole ChristmasElderly TimekeeperDirected by son Ron
2001A Beautiful MindWhite-Haired PatientDirected by son Ron
Joe DirtBomb Squad Cop
Rat RaceFeed the Earth Spokesman
2002Back by MidnightPriest
2003The MissingTelegraph OperatorDirected by son Ron
2004The AlamoGovernor Smith
EulogyLance Sommers
2005Cinderella ManAnnouncer Al FazinDirected by son Ron
2007Georgia RuleDog Bite Man
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox StoryPreacher
2008Drillbit TaylorOlder Man
Frost/NixonOllieDirected by son Ron
2009Angels & DemonsCardinal BeckDirected by son Ron
2010Jonah HexTelegrapher
Valentine's DayBistro Gardens Diner
2011The DilemmaBurtDirected by son Ron
Spooky BuddiesMr. Joseph Johnson
2013NebraskaUncle Ray
The Lone RangerEngineer


YearTitleRoleOther Notes
1956-1957Kraft Television TheatreVarious3 episodes
1958How to Marry a MillionaireCorporal1 episode
1959Bat MastersonFletcher1 episode
1962-1964The Andy Griffith ShowVarious4 episodes
1966That GirlCustomer #21 episode
1966The VirginianLuka1 episode
1967The MonroesAl1 episode
1967-1969Gentle BenHenry Boomhauer13 episodes
1970Then Came BronsonMr. Carl Mueller1 episode
1971Night GalleryCameraman1 episode
1971-1972BonanzaSam/Bogardus2 episodes
1968The F.B.I.Ranger1 episode
1969Kung FuSheriff Byrd1 episode
1973-1975The WaltonsDr. McIvers5 episodes
1974GunsmokeFrank Benton1 episode
1976-1979Happy DaysAnnouncer/Ben Wilson/Mr. Burkhart3 episodes
1977Little House on the PrairieSimpson1 episode
1978Battlestar GalacticaFarnes1 episode
1979Laverne & ShirleyDoctor1 episode
1981Mork & MindyGuard1 episode
1984DynastyGifford1 episode
1984Murder, She WroteFillmore1 episode
1986A Smoky Mountain ChristmasDoctor
1989-1992BaywatchFireman/Joe2 episodes
1989B.L. StrykerRichard Walton1 episode
1991Quantum LeapRing Doctor1 episode
1993CoachHerman Van Dam1 episode
1993-1996SeinfeldBlind Man/Farmer2 episodes
1994Diagnosis MurderDriver1 episode
1996-1997Babylon 5David Sheridan3 episodes
1996-1997Married... with ChildrenEdwin/Reverend2 episodes
1996Melrose PlaceMotel Manager1 episode
1998CluelessMr. Bell2 episodes
1998Two of a KindMr. Fillmore2 episodes
1999Just Shoot Me!Blind Flower Guy1 episode
20007th HeavenOld Man in Park1 episode
2001AngelMarcus Roscoe/Angel1 episode
2004Cold CaseBuddie1 episode
2004That's So RavenMurphy1 episode
2005Ghost WhispererDirk Abrams1 episode
2006CSI: NYSamuel Cooper1 episode
2009ERDr. Oliver Kostin1 episode
2009Lie to MeJoe Metz1 episode
2011WorkaholicsJerry1 episode
2012Grey's AnatomyMartin Carroll1 episode


NCIS: Los Angeles

Second Chances/Hallmark Movie



1 episode

1 episode


External links[edit]

Media related to Rance Howard at Wikimedia Commons