Ron Howard: He's kind of a big deal...

Ronny Howard as Opie Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show"
Ronny Howard as Opie Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" AP file photo

Aside from an impressive filmography, director Ron Howard is reportedly a pleasant, easygoing guy who plays well with others - no easy feat in Hollywood.

He regularly answers fan tweets; he often casts his father and brother in his films; he promotes his own movies - he's particularly great on The Howard Stern Show, a regular PR port of call. Former co-star and longtime friend Henry Winkler is godfather to Howard's eldest daughter, Bryce.

In short, he's Richie Cunningham.

So it's no surprise that when Howard toured Mystic Seaport on Tuesday, he did so in low-key fashion. Still, Howard's visit got people talking about his many accomplishments in entertainment, from "The Andy Griffith Show" to his Oscar win for "A Beautiful Mind." Before we knew it, we'd identified a column's worth of great works by Howard, which we share here in a timeline of the director's life thus far.

Great Moments in Howard History

1954: Ronald William Howard is born on March 1 in Duncan, Okla.

1959: Ronny Howard is cast in his first film, "The Journey" (1959) with Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner and Jason Robards.

1960: Howard is cast as Opie Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show," the son of the title character. The show runs for eight seasons.

1973: Howard plays Steve Bolander in George Lucas's circa-1960s teen angst film "American Graffiti."

1974: Howard is cast in another nostalgia comedy, ABC's "Happy Days." Howard portrays nice-guy prep Richie Cunningham. He leaves the show in 1980; the series runs until 1984.

1975: Howard weds Cheryl Alley; they go on to have four children, including actress Bryce Dallas Howard.

1977: Howard makes his directing debut with road movie comedy "Grand Theft Auto."

Howard wins a Golden Globe Award for his role on "Happy Days."

1982: After directing several TV movies, Howard breaks out with "Night Shift," a comedy featuring Michael Keaton, Shelley Long and "Happy Days" co-star Henry Winkler.

1985: Howard's film "Cocoon" receives the Academy Award for Best Effects/Visual Effects and one of the film's stars, Don Ameche, wins the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. "Cocoon" also received a Saturn Award for Best Director.

1986: With Brian Grazer, Howard launches film and television production company Imagine Entertainment. Among the company's many film releases are "Parenthood," "Backdraft," "Far and Away," "Apollo 13," "8 Mile" and Frost/Nixon." Television credits include "24," "Felicity" and "Arrested Development."

2002: Howard's film "A Beautiful Mind" lands him the Academy Award for directing. The film, starring Russell Crowe, also wins Best Picture.

2003: Imagine Entertainment produces the cult comedy "Arrested Development," starring Jason Bateman. The series airs for three seasons on Fox.

Howard receives the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts.

2009: The American Film Institute names "Frost/Nixon" Movie of the Year. It's also nominated for Academy Awards in the Best Directing and Best Picture categories.

2011: Popular demand sends "Arrested Development" back into production. The next season airs on Netflix this summer. Howard serves as the "narrator" on the series.

2013: Howard visits Mystic Seaport. The director tours the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, reportedly on a research mission for a film about the crew of the Essex, a ship sunk by a sperm whale in 1820.

In the works: "Rush," a biography of race car driver Niki Lauda and "Jay-Z: Made in America," a documentary. Rumors continue to swirl around Howard's intention to make a film version of Stephen King's mega-novel series "The Dark Tower," but that project is very much in flux.

Ron Howard at Mystic Seaport on April 2.
Ron Howard at Mystic Seaport on April 2. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo
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