Ron Howard doesn’t do a whole lot of acting these days—he’s busy making blockbuster big screen movies—but TV fans got a sweet treat when the Oscar-winning director made a cameo on the most recent episode of This Is Us. Howard played himself in the penultimate episode of the hit NBC drama, “What Now?,” in a scene which had him placing a late-night call to struggling actor Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) to offer him a role in his latest Hollywood movie.
This Is Us fans were excited to see the real Ron Howard in the scene, and many of them are hoping Kevin takes Howard up on his offer to head to Hollywood, despite the fact that Hartley’s character just reconnected with his ex-wife, Sophie, in New York.
How great is Ron Howard????— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) March 8, 2017
While Ron Howard is best known for directing films such as A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and Inferno, he has never steered far from the TV genre. A child star since The Andy Griffith Show, Ron went on to star in the ’70s sitcom Happy Days. But even during his Happy Days heyday, Howard knew he wouldn’t be an actor for the long haul.
“I listened and learned – and knew that I would never survive as an actor,” Ron said in a 2015 interview with U.K.’s Express.
“I was not assertive. I was not a leader. You have to be like some of the big stars such as Dustin Hoffman to make it. He could take control while remaining an actor. I was relaxed but never terribly satisfied with my work. I was always a little uncomfortable watching myself and felt I was not capable of doing it differently from the way I was delivering each particular part. Over time it would have driven me mad.”
Howard went on to direct the 1977 low-budget flick Grand Theft Auto. In more recent years, Ron Howard has served as executive producer on everything from this year’s Genius to the kiddie cartoon Curious George, and his EP role on Arrested Development was well documented; Ron even narrated the Fox comedy.
While acting’s not his thing, Ron Howard could be considered a bit of a cameo king. Ron had small cameo roles in his own movies, including Night Shift (1982), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), and A Beautiful Mind (2001), and last year he famously paid tribute to the late Garry Marshall in The Odd Couple reboot. Howard’s most bizarre cameo may have been in the music video for Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Howard explained why he went semi-gangsta to party it up with Foxx, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Forest Whitaker in the glitzy video.
“I was picturing a sort of ‘We Are The World’ thing,” Howard admitted.
“So I showed up, and Jamie said, ‘It’s this party scene, and you’re going to drive up with Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker and me. The only thing is that you’ve got to wear your party face’… I had no idea what in the world it was or what I was doing. I do not have a secret night-clubbing side. I’m the opposite of a big pimpin’ kind of dude… I mean, I am one of the whitest men in the world. I like singer-songwriters. But I thought it was funny that I was in it.”
While his latest cameo was epic, Ron Howard is one of many A-list guest stars who’ve appeared on This Is Us. In addition to Howard, the first season of the show has featured everyone from the late Alan Thicke (in one of last credited TV roles) to comedian Seth Meyers.
Take a look at the video below to see Ron Howard talking about his acting roles.
[Featured Image by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images]