Ron Howard typically stands behind the camera these days, but the star is still instantly recognizable as the actor who once portrayed clean-cut teen Richie Cunningham. And if the director ever wanted to reboot Happy Days, he could easily cast his son in his former role. That’s right: Reed Howard looks more than a little like his father’s character in the classic sitcom. In fact, the resemblance is scarily uncanny.
Reed isn’t Ron’s only child, of course. The veteran actor and his wife, Cheryl, are actually proud parents to four kids. And of the siblings, first-born Bryce has unarguably been the most successful at following in her father’s footsteps.
Bryce first impressed critics with her performance in M. Night Shyamalan’s eerie mystery The Village. That star turn led to roles in several other box-office hits, including Terminator: Salvation and Spider-Man 3. And the redhead not only helped to revive the Jurassic Park franchise, but she was also the leading lady in the Academy Award-nominated The Help.
Plus, Bryce now has a family of her own. In 2006 she walked down the aisle with Fringe and Genius star Seth Gabel, and the happy couple became parents a year later with the birth of son Theodore. The actors added to their clan in 2012 with daughter Beatrice.
Cheryl and Ron also welcomed twin sisters Paige and Jocelyn into the world in 1985. But the two women have gone on to take very different paths. You see, unlike most of her famous family, Jocelyn has chosen to keep a low profile. In fact, there’s very little on-the-record information about her at all.
In contrast, Paige has racked up TV and film credits left, right and center. She’s appeared in hit TV series such as the Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot and crime procedural Medium. And in 2009 Paige popped up on the big screen for the first time in the nostalgic theme park comedy Adventureland.
Then there’s Reed, who was born in 1987 and has emerged to become somewhat of a Richie Cunningham lookalike. But while Ron and Cheryl’s youngest has occasionally ventured into show business, he appears to be far more interested in pursuing a career on the golf course than amid the bright lights of Hollywood.
And Ron and Cheryl are still together today – more than 45 years after they first tied the knot. When asked how he’s managed to sustain one of Hollywood’s most enduring marriages, Ron told People in 2019, “There’s no technique. There’s no tactic other than [that] communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways. Beyond that, there’s an element of luck because people either grow together, or they don’t, and I don’t think you can force that.”
Ron was also more than happy to discuss his long-lasting relationship in a 2013 interview with HuffPost. He said, “I felt really lucky when we met. It’s crazy. We were teenagers. It shouldn’t have worked. We got married young. That shouldn’t have worked either, and yet it really and truly has.”
And since 1985, the Howard family have been based in Connecticut – quite a distance from Tinseltown. In a 2010 chat with Success magazine, however, Ron revealed that he’s never been particularly interested in the Hollywood way of life. Instead, he revealed, “I love simple stuff. Taking hikes with [Cheryl] is something I really look forward to.”
Ron also explained that he and Cheryl make sure to put time aside for less strenuous activities. He added, “We still love to go to movies. We go on dates to movies; we don’t screen them at the house. You know, we go out and hit the multiplex.”
And in 2018 Ron proved that he’s an old romantic with a touching Instagram post to celebrate his 48th wedding anniversary. The director uploaded a throwback photo of himself and his wife, captioned, “Cheryl and I went on our first date in this very 1970 #VWBug. Many kids and grandkids later, we’re still going out!”
Of course, Cheryl is no stranger to the spotlight herself. She’s even shown up in several of her husband’s movies, including Splash, Ransom and A Beautiful Mind. But it seems that her true passion is storytelling. In 2005 she released In the Face of Jinn – a mystery novel about two sisters’ ill-fated business trip to India.
And behind the scenes, Cheryl has supported Ron throughout his entire directorial career, which began in 1977 with Grand Theft Auto. Since then, the multi-talented star has helmed numerous box-office smashes, including the well-regarded Parenthood and Apollo 13. In 2002 his work on A Beautiful Mind even led him to be crowned Best Director at the Academy Awards.
Still, as fans know, Ron was a star long before he first sat in the director’s chair. Famously, he first came to attention as an actor playing Opie in The Andy Griffith Show. The talented youngster also landed roles on the big screen in The Journey and The Music Man. But his career would reach new heights when he was cast in beloved sitcom Happy Days.
Ron, of course, bagged the central role of Richie Cunningham – a wholesome if somewhat love-lorn student and buddy of Potsie and Ralph Malph. But although Richie was intended to be the star of the show, he was soon overshadowed by the ultra-cool leather-jacketed The Fonz.
And in a 2019 interview with Decider, the man who played The Fonz claimed that Ron wasn’t exactly bowled over by this situation. Henry Winkler revealed that after a fourth-season shoot, he had asked his co-star how he felt about the lothario character’s success. Ron apparently told him, though, “You didn’t do one thing other than be good at what you’re doing. My feelings were hurt, but it’s good for the show.’”
Still, Winkler insisted that there’s no animosity between the pair. “He was one of the most wonderful acting partners ever,” the star said while recalling his time on set with Ron. “We could do a scene – we could read it, rehearse it, memorize it and shoot it three times in 20 minutes. There was a thread between us that was amazing.”
Yet while Ron may not have always taken center stage in Happy Days, the sitcom did allow him the chance to flex his directing muscles. He helmed numerous episodes of the sitcom, in fact, before it came off air in 1984. And after having proved his behind-the-scenes credentials, the redhead was then able to win over Roger Corman and direct his first feature film.
Despite his subsequent success as a director, though, Ron will always be associated with his Happy Days character. And, interestingly, he could well have passed on that role, as at the time he didn’t have any plans to commit to a further series of TV. So, what changed? Well, the Vietnam War was raging back then, for a start.
Yes, taking the part of Richie was ultimately a handy way for Ron to avoid service. Initially, he had been all set to head for the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. After the government stopped giving college-goers student deferments, however, the young actor became concerned about his low draft number. So, he found another get-out clause: an occupational deferment, which he’d obtain if he accepted the role of Richie.
Ironically, the Vietnam War and the fall of the Nixon administration are considered by some to be instrumental to Happy Days’ success. Journeying back to the more innocent era of the 1950s, the feel-good, family-friendly sitcom arguably helped American audiences to forget about the difficult political climate. And when Ron was asked in a 2009 Guardian interview whether the show was “a return to lost innocence,” he replied, “It absolutely was.”
It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that Happy Days was so popular. And during a 2019 reunion with several of his former co-stars, including Winkler and Marion Ross, Ron recalled how crazy things had gotten during the height of the show’s success. He told Entertainment Tonight, “It was kind of like the boy band of the moment. It was that kind of pandemonium.”
Ron went on to remember an incident that saw a fan go just a little too far. He said, “Somebody grabbed my hat, and even back when I had hair I liked to wear a hat. But they grabbed my hat, [and] I actually went and got it. That’s the only time I’ve lost my temper in a situation like that.”
Wearing a hat may well have been the only way for Ron to avoid getting spotted at the time, as he was arguably as renowned for his hair and freckles as for his acting talent. And, neatly, the star has passed his striking redhead genes down to all four of his children.
Naturally, as Ron’s only son, Reed looks more like the former Happy Days star than daughters Bryce, Paige, and Jocelyn do. And judging by photos that have been shared by the family on various social media pages, he’s always been the spitting image of his father. In one throwback picture, a very young Reed is a dead ringer for Opie – the character Ron portrayed in his early days on The Andy Griffith Show.
And the resemblance between the pair is even more obvious in a 2018 photo in which they stand side by side. Uploaded by Ron to his Instagram account, the snap was captioned, “[Reed] and I in a very busy NYC Flatiron district. Hoping you all are connecting with family and friends this holiday season.”
Unsurprisingly, several of Ron’s followers swiftly took to the comments section to remark upon the uncanny likeness between the director and his youngest child. One wrote, for instance, “Your son looks as I remember you at his age, Mr. Howard.”
So, what exactly does Reed do for a living? Well, unlike most of his family, he hasn’t pursued a career in showbiz. Instead, he’s been busy creating a name for himself in the golfing world. More specifically, Reed is responsible for the creation of a pioneering golf tool known as the Steadhead Training Aid.
And Reed explains how his invention came about on the product’s official website. He writes, “The Steadhead was a product I simply made for myself to help improve my game. As soon as I thought to make it and clipped the original prototype to my hat, my swing was never the same. Immediately, I had instant feedback on whether or not my head was moving – something that was previously impossible to achieve without video or an on-site instructor.”
Reed should know what makes a good golf game, too, as the Pepperdine University graduate earned a spot on the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s inaugural team in 2007. He also competed in the U.S. Amateur Championship before joining the All-Pro Tour.
The budding sportsman then went on to take part in the Coke/Dr. Pepper Walmart Open in 2015 before setting foot on the green at the St. Andrews Henan Open in China a year later. And in 2018 he showcased his skills at both the New Hope Oklahoma Championship and Prairie Band Topeka Championship.
But while Reed has decided to carve out his own path, he isn’t entirely averse to appearing in front of the camera. In 2018, you see, he popped up in an episode of the Netflix revival of Arrested Development. The critically acclaimed family sitcom was, of course, directed by his lookalike father.
And in 2019 Reed showed up in another family affair – this time, a documentary directed by his sister Bryce. As its title suggests, Dads explores the trials and tribulations of being a father in the modern age. The feature-length film follows Reed as he awaits the birth of his first child and copes with a newborn.
For instance, we get to see Reed struggling to master installing a child’s car seat just a few weeks before his wife, Ashley, is expected to give birth. Audiences can also watch him cuddle his newborn, Aspen Leigh, once she’s arrived. And in the documentary, Reed reveals an intriguing fact about his own dad.
Apparently, Ron filmed all four of his children being born – footage of which can be seen in the film. Reed even tells the cameras that he and his siblings were made to watch themselves coming into the world. In a semi-joking manner, the golfer goes on to describe the sight of his mother giving birth as “traumatic.”
On screen, Reed admits, though, that he worries about being able to reach the same fathering standards as his old man. Yet it turns out that this is a fear that runs in the family. You see, an emotional Ron also shows up in the film to discuss how he was once concerned about living up to his own dad.
But regardless of how Reed deals with fatherhood in the future, his pa is likely to be there for support. And Ron showed just how pleased he was with his son and granddaughter in a heartwarming post on Instagram. Just in time for Father’s Day 2019, the Oscar winner uploaded a picture of Reed feeding Aspen Leigh to the social media site, captioning it, “Good job, son. I’m a proud dad and grandad today and every day.”
It wasn’t the first time that Ron had expressed his sheer joy at being a grandfather, either. The director had previously shared a photo of Reed cradling his newborn daughter, along with the message, “Aspen Leigh Howard was born yesterday! Reed and [Ashley] are feeling blessed and elated. So are the grandparents!”
Still, Ron hasn’t let his grandparenting duties affect his career. In fact, he’s busier than ever. In late 2020 he will see two directorial efforts hit the screens: Rebuilding Paradise and Hillbilly Elegy. And he has a further six projects in the pipeline, too, including Thai cave rescue film Thirteen Lives, creepy thriller The Girl Before and drama The Fixer.
Ron also has a couple of things in common with Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter. Both stars were part of ’70s TV shows that are still loved by legions of fans today, for instance. And just like Ron, the actress has a lookalike child – one who could almost be a doppelgänger of her famous mom.
As the original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter turned heads for her beauty while kicking butt – and earned herself a place in pop culture history doing it. But in the decades since Carter played the superhero on the small screen, she’s become a parent to two kids. And as it happens, her daughter, Jessica, appears to have inherited her famous mom’s striking good looks.
Way before Jessica was born, however, Carter first found fame as a pageant queen. She was just 21 years old, in fact, when she tried out for a beauty contest in Arizona – and earned the win. That victory made the future star the representative for Arizona at Miss World America 1972, and later that year she went on to the semifinals of the international Miss World competition.
This step into the spotlight also led Carter to explore the world of acting. In 1974 she made her screen debut as an adult in an episode of Nakia and went on to other small roles from there. Then, however, came the part that would define her career. And while executives thought that a female superhero wouldn’t draw audiences, they were ultimately very wrong indeed.
Carter became internationally famous, too – both for being Wonder Woman and for being stunningly attractive. When the action series was at its height in 1978, she was even named “the most beautiful woman in the world” – an impressive accolade indeed – by the International Academy of Beauty and the British Press Organisation.
But after her rise to fame, Carter didn’t rest on her laurels; instead, she pursued a second career as a singer. And in 1978 she told People, “People see me in a bathing suit every Friday night on TV, [but] I’m determined to make it on my talent – not my bosom. Singing is something I’ve been doing all my life, and I want people to know it.”
Furthermore, Carter seemed to have mixed feelings about being lauded for her looks. She explained to People, “I wasn’t the beautiful blond cupcake when I was growing up. I’ve been skinny, and I’ve been heavy. I wear glasses. I’m a real person. I’ve learned how to look great without wearing any makeup except a little bit of blusher and some mascara.”
And in 1980 Carter went even further, telling Us Weekly, “I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men’s bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me.”
Back then, Carter’s husband had been movie producer Ron Samuels. They had wed in 1977, when Carter was 25, but would ultimately part ways in 1982. And many years later, in December 2019, the actress said to Closer magazine of the marriage, “[Samuels] was a lot older [than me], and I was just stupid.”
Not long after her divorce from Samuels, however, Carter met Robert Altman – a lawyer who ran a thriving firm in Washington, D.C. And the pair wasted little time in taking their relationship to the next step, tying the knot in 1984. It was at this point, moreover, that Carter was starting to tire of the celebrity lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the actress still earned column inches – including, in 1985, a Washington Post feature on her new marriage. Of Carter, the newspaper said, “She is tall, 5 feet, 9 inches, with generous bust and hips and small waist. Her features are prom queen pert, punctuated by masses of dark hair and huge, darkly outlined turquoise eyes. It’s easy to see how she won the part of Wonder Woman.”
And speaking to the newspaper, Altman explained that he had fallen for Carter after being asked to attend a dinner with the star. He revealed, “I knew she was a good-looking actress who modeled for Maybelline, but I couldn’t quite place her… I thought the last thing I need is to go to dinner and get mixed up with some Hollywood actress.”
The lawyer continued, “I went. I sat next to [Carter], and we hit it off immediately. There was a strong and immediate attraction – even to the point that we were so very interested in one another that it seemed rude to the rest of the table. After that, I was definitely interested in seeing her. She was beautiful and fascinating – not at all what I had anticipated.”
And apparently Carter had shattered all of Altman’s preconceptions of a celebrity. He went on, “I expected someone who was narcissistic, self-important and full of herself. But [Carter] is unpretentious, warm, funny and bright. I wanted to see her again.” Nevertheless, he added, “I had no notion at the time that it was going to end up in marriage. I probably would have said, ‘It will be fun. That’s it.’”
During the Washington Post interview, Carter also talked about her singing career and her sex symbol status, saying, “I’ve never been va-va-voom. I’ve never felt that way on stage that I’m promoting sexuality. The dresses are cut that way, but my personality is not that way.”
And Carter went on, “I don’t want to alienate half the audience, which is female. You don’t have to play on it if it’s there visually… I’m not trying to turn anyone on. I’m just singing and dancing.” The interviewer asked Altman, however, if he felt that other women were ever jealous of his wife’s good looks.
Altman answered, “Simply stated, yes. You can tell from the sideways glances, looking her up and down, [and] the little remarks that are made. It’s obvious there is a sense of envy.” When it came to other men, meanwhile, the attorney claimed, “It’s all pretty good-natured. Nothing goes beyond the bounds of propriety… Crowds take to her.”
But it appeared that Carter had other plans beyond a life on stage and screen. Speaking to The Washington Post, she said, “I want to start a family. It’s time. I have the man I want. I have where I want to live. My brother and sister both have children. They started young. I’ve waited, and now it’s right.”
So the actress did exactly that, and she and Altman moved away from the bright lights of Hollywood and built a big house for themselves in Maryland. Then, in 1988, their first child, a son called James, was born, followed in 1990 by a girl called Jessica. And upon reflection, Carter appeared to have no regrets about leaving her career behind to become a mother.
In 2017 the now-65-year-old Carter told People of that period, “I spent a lot of time on movie sets – and that is being said in a way right now that I’m grateful for it — but I didn’t have a lot of substance in my life. I found that it was the person. It’s always the people in your life – the friends and family that you choose to spend time with.”
Carter went on, “It is every step you take that is the more difficult step in taking care of your children. The easy way out often ends up being the hardest. I think that the intellectual pursuits in our family were much more the focus of our lives.” Indeed, both James and Jessica had become lawyers in the interim.
And Carter was still considered a very beautiful woman – despite having received very little outside help in warding off the years. Yes, in 2018 the actress told Closer Weekly that her looks were almost completely natural, as all she’d ever had was “a little Botox.” She added, “I don’t think I’m ever going to go under the knife – I am what I am!”
How has Carter managed to still look good into her sixties? Well, in 2016 she revealed some tips and tricks to W magazine. To begin with, she related some of her mom’s own methods, saying, “[My mother] said, ‘Do not go out in the sun. If you do, you’ll end up like a prune or an old leather purse.’ At the time, there was no sun protection, so she’d wear hats and put cream on her face. And she used to give herself a facial with egg whites. She had no wrinkles on her face, and her hands were always soft.”
Carter had followed that advice, too. “I’ve stayed out of the sun, and I harp the same with my daughter,” she continued. “I have used Purpose soap for years and years and [did not wear] a lot of makeup. I would always use Coppertone For Faces Only on my hands when I drive and sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!”
In the same interview, Carter was asked why Wonder Woman was always “done up like a sex bomb.” To this, the actress answered, “Wonder Woman was totally not a predatory female. It’s not in her wheelhouse at all. And I never played Wonder Woman; I always played [her alter-ego] Diana Prince. I always played her, and that’s just what she wore.”
But no matter what Wonder Woman wore or what she looked like, she was an inspiration to many – including Carter’s daughter, Jessica. And in May 2020 the young woman spoke to Forbes about her mother’s career and what the two of them shared. It appeared, too, that Jessica just so happened to look a lot like her famous mom.
Indeed, the media had been commenting for a while on the resemblance between the two women. For example, following the pair’s trip to a 2018 premiere of the movie Super Troopers 2, website Hollywood Life noted that Carter “look[ed] gorgeous at a red carpet alongside her twin of a daughter.”
But Jessica seemingly inherited her mother’s work ethic along with her flowing brunette hair, cheekbones and striking eyes. After graduating from the University of Michigan in both law and psychology, the young woman managed to land a position at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
And speaking to Forbes, Jessica said, “My mom inspires me daily.” She added that as a child, she had once raided her mother’s closet and found the famous television costume hanging there. Following this discovery, Jessica had then “put on the Wonder Woman crown, bracelets and lasso of truth and started running around the house pretending to be a superhero.”
And like her mother, Jessica was interested in music. She told the publication, “I have been singing for as long as I can remember. Whenever I would hear a song, I would immediately start singing and dancing around the kitchen.” She even decided to launch a career in that field, in fact.
Jessica wasn’t alone in her love for music, either. She told Forbes, “Whenever our parents went out, [my brother and I] would be home practicing. [Then] as soon as they came home, we would take them to the living room and perform. Looking back, I am amazed at [my parents’] patience after a long day to sit and watch us.”
And in the years since, Carter had done more than just that. Apparently, during Jessica’s time in law school, her mom had asked her to perform at the Kennedy Center. The young woman further explained, “My mother assembled a band of some of the greatest musicians in the world who are in the hall of fame and are some of the most recorded artists in history, yet they welcomed me like family and imparted invaluable lessons about performing.”
Then, following her bar exam, Jessica decided that she would try to follow both of her passions at the same time. She told Forbes, “Why should I quit? Who determined that it was impossible to pursue music and law? Simply because I do not know someone who has followed this path, [it] does not mean that I can’t.”
So, Jessica called her first record No Rules – and for good reason. She explained, “This EP started at the beginning of my legal career. I had to find a delicate balance between my responsibilities at my firm and my music. And throughout this process, I have discovered that, indeed, there are ‘no rules.’”
But Jessica wasn’t going to juggle two careers at the same time. She said to Forbes, “I recently decided to leave my law firm to pursue music full time. I am tremendously grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a remarkable group of professionals, but [I] decided that I wanted to focus on a career in music.”
Of course, Jessica’s father had once been in the law, too. After being questioned about Altman, Jessica said, “He practiced as an attorney in Washington, D.C. for more than 25 years. But 20 years ago, he decided to pursue an artistic business and establish what is now a leading video game company. I guess the creative gene runs deep.”
And Jessica still retained a love of the legal world. She revealed, “I always knew I wanted to go to law school; I was just unsure where it would take me. My legal background has certainly helped me navigate the business side of music, but it has also instilled a certain kind of discipline that I rely on in pursuing music.”
The famous actress’ daughter continued to explain to the magazine, “The thing I love about being a lawyer is the ability to help people. The intellectual nature of law has always appealed to me. But there is no comparison to being able to use your knowledge and particular skill set to help someone.” That’s a very Wonder Woman mindset.
And people on social media have suggested that perhaps Jessica could play a version of Wonder Woman one day. Indeed, while actress Gal Gadot has most recently portrayed the character on the big screen, there’s still scope for the lawyer-turned-musician to eventually take on the role.
In the meantime, Carter herself has continued to sing Wonder Woman’s praises – even though she retired from the role long ago. During a 2019 preview for the Calgary Expo, she told the press, “[Wonder Woman] could protect herself and protect the people she cared about – for the right reasons. That’s why I think one of the reasons why my depiction of her was lasting or enduring.”
And while, to date, neither Carter nor her daughter have appeared in the modern-day Wonder Woman films, the veteran actress claims that director Patty Jenkins would be happy for her to make a cameo in a future movie. If that ever happens, perhaps she should bring Jessica along for the ride.