Ronald Howard (Ronald Howard)

Ronald Howard

Howard was born in South Norwood, London, the son of Ruth Evelyn (Martin) and film actor Leslie Howard. He attended Tonbridge School. After graduating from Jesus College, Cambridge, Ronald Howard became a newspaper reporter for a while but decided to become an actor. His first film role was an uncredited bit part in Pimpernel Smith (1941), a film directed by and starring his father in the title role, though young Howard’s part ended up on the cutting room floor. In the early 1940s, Howard gained acting experience in regional theatre, the London stage and eventually films, his official debut in While the Sun Shines in 1947. Howard received varying degrees of exposure in some well-known films, such as The Queen of Spades (1949) and The Browning Version (1951). Howard played Will Scarlet in the episode of the same name of the 1950s British television classic The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Richard Greene. The character of Scarlet was later portrayed by Paul Eddington. The 1954 Sherlock Holmes television series, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle characters and produced by Sheldon Reynolds, ran for 39 episodes starring Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion-Crawford as Watson. In addition to 21st century DVD releases, in 2006 and 2014 this series was broadcast in the UK on the satellite channel Bonanza. Howard continued mainly in British “B” films throughout the 1950s and ’60s, most notably The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964), along with a few plum television guest roles in British and American television in the 1960s, including as Wing Commander Hayes in the 1967 Cowboy in Africa TV show with Chuck Connors and Tom Nardini. In the mid-1970s, he reluctantly put aside his acting career to run an art gallery.

In the 1980s he wrote a biography covering the career and mysterious death of his father, whose plane was shot down over the Bay of Biscay on 1 June 1943. His conclusion (which remains in dispute) was that the Germans’ goal in shooting down the plane was to kill his father, who had been travelling through Spain and Portugal, ostensibly lecturing on film, but also meeting with local propagandists and shoring up support for the Allied cause. The Germans suspected surreptitious activities since German agents were active throughout Spain and Portugal, which, like Switzerland, was a crossroads for persons from both sides of the conflict, but even more accessible to Allied citizens. The book explores in detail written German orders to the Ju 88 Staffel based in France, assigned to intercept the aircraft, as well as communiqués on the British side that verify intelligence reports of the time indicating a deliberate attack on Howard. Ronald Howard was convinced that the order to shoot down the airliner came directly from Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, who had been ridiculed in one of Howard’s films, and who believed Howard to be the most dangerous British propagandist.

Born

  • April, 07, 1918
  • United Kingdom
  • Norwood, London, England

Died

  • December, 19, 1996
  • United Kingdom
  • Bridport, Dorset, England

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