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George Clooney: How Ken Howard helped him as a young actor

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

George Clooney paid tribute to the late Ken Howard with a touching story about how the veteran actor and SAG-AFTRA president once helped him out when he was first finding his way in Hollywood.

“There’s a story about how a young actor met Ken on the Fox lot in 1983 and told him what a fan he was of The White Shadow,” Clooney said in a statement released following Howard’s death Wednesday. “Ken asked that actor what he did and the young man said, ‘Well someday I hope to be lucky enough to work with you.’ Then he told Ken he had an audition all the way across town at Paramount but he wasn’t going to make it because all he had was a bike.”

Clooney continued, “So Ken put his bike in the trunk of his car and dropped him off at Paramount. Then Ken just waved goodbye and said good luck, ‘I hope we do get that chance to work together.'”

Although he didn’t get the part, Clooney did get to work with Howard years later, on the 2007 film Michael Clayton. “It was an honor. Today his obituary read that he was six foot six, but he was so much taller than that.”