‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How 6-Year-Old Ron Howard Learned His Lines Before He Could Read

Older audiences may remember the popular show The Andy Griffith Show. The sitcom evoked feelings of nostalgia and helped people escape major events that were happening at the time. One character from the show that some people may remember is the main character’s son, Opie. 

Ron Howard played Opie at a young age and would later become a famous director as an adult. An interesting fact is that he did not know how to read when The Andy Griffith Show first started. 

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ aired in the 1960s

Opie sitting at the table with food in front of him and his fork in his hand smirking
Ron Howard as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show | CBS

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The Andy Griffith Show first aired in 1960 and ran for eight seasons. It was a spinoff of another series that was less successful.

The series released its pilot episode on The Danny Thomas Show. Andy Griffith’s performance was impressive enough that CBS greenlighted his show. 

The plot revolves around Sheriff Andy Taylor as he watches over the fictional town of Mayberry. He upholds the law with a level-headed approach and common sense. Besides dealing with criminals, he helps settle problems between members of the community. 

The show also follows the character’s personal life as he spends time with his son, Opie, and develops a love interest. Andy and his friends tend to hang out in the local barbershop. The sheriff is a well-liked person in the town. 

The Andy Griffith Show became popular among audiences soon after airing. It began in black and white. However, it later produced episodes in color. Despite the series having ended decades ago, many fans fondly remember tuning in for each episode. 

Who is director Ron Howard?

Howard plays Opie on the series. He began acting when he was only a toddler and appeared in several television shows. He landed a role in The Andy Griffith Show as a regular cast member when he caught the eye of producer Sheldon Leonard. 

Despite being a child actor, Howard still maintained his education in a public school. The actor later began to explore filmmaking. As an adult, he had directed multiple films and earned a lot of success.

He produced A Beautiful Mind in 2002 and worked on the comedy show Arrested Development. Many know him for his compelling documentaries. Some of them include Made in America and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. Howard’s most recent documentary is Rebuilding Paradise, which came out earlier this year. 

In his personal life, he is married to Cheryl Howard, and the couple has had four children together. They have three daughters and a son. 

Ron Howard did not know how to read his lines

American actor Ronnie Howard appears as Opie Taylor in an episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show.'
Ron Howard as Opie Taylor in ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Howard was quite young when he began his role in The Andy Griffith Show. At the age of 6, he portrayed the humorous son of Andy Taylor. What some fans may not know is that the actor went about memorizing his lines differently.

Most children do not learn how to read until they are 6 or 7 years old. According to Fox News, this was the case for Howard. Even when the showrunners filmed episodes, he could barely read. While his adult costars were able to read their part of the script, he had to find another method to remember his lines. 

Howard’s father, Rance Howard, spoke his lines to him. Other cast members would help him learn his lines as well. The actor likely had to listen to what they were saying multiple times to remember what he needed to say during his scenes. 

This method paid off, and Howard was able to give a convincing performance.  Since he could barely read at the start of the show, he possibly learned by the end of the series.