Academy AwardÆ winning director Ron Howard has created critically acclaimed films ranging from comedies and special effects dramas, to biopics and family sagas. His comedies include Splash (1984) and Parenthood (1989) while his dramatic films include A Beautiful Mind (2001), for which he earned OscarsÆ for Best Director and Best Picture, and Apollo 13 (1995), which garnered two Oscars. Cocoon with Don Ameche (1985), Backdraft with Robert DeNiro and Kurt Russell, and Far and Away featuring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are among his acclaimed films. Howard and long-time producing partner Brian Grazer co-founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986 to create independently produced feature films. Howard began his career in film as an actor, appearing as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days on television, and in the films American Graffiti and The Shootist.