Ronald Howard (British actor)

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Ronald Howard (7 April 1918 – 19 December 1996) was an English actor and writer best known in the U.S. for starring in a weekly Sherlock Holmes television series in 1954. He was the son of actor Leslie Howard.


Life and work

Howard was born in South Norwood, London, the son of film actor Leslie Howard. 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 theater, 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 this series was being broadcast for the first time in the UK on the satellite channel Bonanza.

Howard continued mainly in British "B" films throughout the 50s 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 60s, 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.

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