To one generation, Ron Howard is an Oscar-winning director; to another, he's Richie Cunningham from the '70s sitcom Happy Days; but for many, he'll always be little Opie from The Andy Griffith Show. With the sad news that Andy passed away this morning, Ron remembers his good friend and mentor, telling ET, "I think he lived a rich, full life with optimism to the very end."
"It was Andy's effort and vision, week in and week out, that kept modifying and defining and redefining what Mayberry was and what it was supposed to represent," says Ron about Andy's influence on the beloved Andy Griffith Show, which ran on TV from 1960-1968.
Ron credits not only his work ethic to Andy's influence, but also the way he raised his own family.
"There wasn't neurosis around the set, there was a kind of respect for the opportunity, a humility in that, and yet a sense of play," says Ron of the example set by the humble star. "He definitely informed my career, and our family wouldn't be what it is today, we wouldn't be who we are without that show, and that show wouldn't have been what it was without Andy."