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Ken Howard Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Mar 28, 1944
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Actor Ken Howard was 6'5" when he was a junior at Manhasset High School (he would later peak at 6'6"), and it was this physical fact, coupled with his remarkable athletic prowess, that assured him a position in Manhasset's "starting five." Offered several athletic scholarships, Howard turned them all down in favor of a liberal arts education at Amherst College, where he developed a taste for theatre. After two years' graduate work at the Yale School of Drama, he dropped out to accept a small role in the Broadway musical [[Feature~V39496~Promises Promises~promisespromises]]. In 1969, Howard graduated to stage stardom as Thomas Jefferson in the popular musical [[Feature~V56~1776~1776]], a role he would repeat in the 1972 film version. He went on to win a Tony Award for his performance in Child's Play, and to spend his summers essaying his two favorite roles, Billy Bigelow in [[Feature~V8336~Carousel~carousel]] and Chance Wayne in Sweet Bird of Youth. His first film was the 1970 [[Performer~P107025~Otto Preminger~ottopreminger]] production [[Feature~V112834~Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon~tellmethatyoulovemejuniemoon]]. In 1973, Howard and his frequent co-star [[Performer~P16922~Blythe Danner~blythedanner]] were cast in the series-TV version of the Tracy-Hepburn picture Adam's Rib (both stars had previously turned down MacMillan and Wife). Neither this series nor Howard's subsequent [[Feature~V31307~Manhunter~manhunter]] (1974) clicked with the public. He was far more successful as high school basketball coach Ken Hughes on [[Feature~V116804~The White Shadow~thewhiteshadow]], which ran from 1976 to 1981 (and which, coincidentally, was produced by Blythe Danner's husband [[Performer~P105482~Bruce Paltrow~brucepaltrow]]). Howard's later TV projects included the title character in the 1984 [[Feature~V83626~American Playhouse~theamericangame]] production of Mark Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson;" the recurring role of Garret Boydston on both Dynasty and The Colbys (1985-86); his hosting chores on the syndicated 1986 talent show Dream Girl USA; and another hosting stint on the NBC documentary weekly What Happened? (1992). In recent years, Howard has taught college acting classes and worked as a drama coach when not busy elsewhere. He would go on to appear on shows like Crossing Jordan, Cane, and 30 Rock, as well as movies like The Beacon. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi