Ron announced the news in a statement posted to Twitter. “Clint & I have been blessed to be Rance Howard’s sons,” he tweeted. “Today he passed at 89. He stood especially tall [for] his ability to balance ambition [with] great personal integrity. A depression-era farm boy, his passion for acting changed the course of our family history. We love & miss U Dad.”
Rance enjoyed a Hollywood career that spanned more than six decades. Following his first credited movie role in 1956’s Frontier Woman, he went on to appear in films like 1966’s An Eye for an Eye, 1974’s Chinatown, 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, and 2013’s Nebraska.
He also appeared in a number of his son’s films, including Grand Theft Auto (Ron’s feature film directorial debut), Splash, Coccoon, Parenthood, and Apollo 13.
Meanwhile, on the small screen, Rance accumulated characters across Seinfeld, Diagnosis Murder, Dallas, Murder, She Wrote, Married with Children, Babylon 5, and Ron’s Happy Days.
Rance was last seen on screen in Broken Memories, a film about a son struggling with his father’s Alzheimer’s. Ron and his daughter, Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard, represented him well at the premiere in Beverly Hills, California, earlier this month.
“He has an undying love of the process, which has made him appreciate every day on a film or television set,” Ron said of his dad (via The Hollywood Reporter), who wasn’t able to attend the event. “And he’s never lost the youthful excitement for being a part of a process that tells a story that reaches audiences in different ways and reflects the work of a team of collaborators that share that excitement and that always rubbed off on me, that joy of being lucky enough to be among the storytellers.”
Bryce added, “He’s had a 65-year career where he has never broken out as a movie star. … He’s never made the money that people dream of, and yet he’s carved out this incredibly unique and remarkable and beautiful career of a character actor. He’s an example of that stick-to-it-ness and what that adds up to in a life.”
Rance’s late wife, Judy Howard, died earlier this year in January. He is also survived by actress and granddaughter Paige Howard.