Bryce Dallas Howard (born March 2, 1981) is an American film actress, writer and director. The daughter of director Ron Howard, she made her acting debut in her father's film Parenthood (1989) and went on to have small roles in films and make stage appearances for the next several years. During this time she also attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, later getting a BFA and went to drama schools. After she came to the attention of M. Night Shyamalan, he cast her in what would be her breakout film, The Village (2004) and then in Lady in the Water (2006). Her performance in As You Like It (2006) earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Howard became more recognizable to audiences as Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3 (2007) and as Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010). Those two projects, as well as Terminator Salvation (2009), are among her most financially successful movies, but all three garnered mixed reviews from the press. Her most recent films are The Help (2011) and 50/50 (2011), both of which were critical and box office successes.
Conceived in Dallas, Texas – the source of her middle name – Howard was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of writer Cheryl Alley and actor-director Ron Howard, on March 2, 1981. Her paternal grandparents are actors Rance Howard and the late Jean Speegle Howard; her uncle is actor Clint Howard; and her godfather is actor Henry Winkler, who co-starred on Happy Days with her father. Howard and her younger sisters, twins Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard (born 1985), and their younger brother, Reed Cross Howard (born 1987), were named after the places they were conceived. All of the Howard children were raised away from the world of show business. Their parents did not allow them access to television and instead encouraged outdoor activities and hobbies. At the age of 7, however, she was allowed to be an extra in her father's movies. In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Howard mentioned that she and her siblings were babysat by family friend Tom Cruise on several occasions. She was raised in Westchester, New York and on a farm in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Howard attended Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts camp in upstate New York, with actress Natalie Portman. After graduating from high school, she studied at New York University's (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts for three years, during which time she also attended the Stella Adler Conservatory, The Experimental Wing, and International Theatre Wing in Amsterdam. During her schooling, she took part in the concept recording of the Broadway-bound musical A Tale of Two Cities. She graduated with her BFA in Drama in 2003. Howard is also an alumna of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's School at Steppenwolf in Chicago, and of The Actors Center in New York City. During her time in New York, Howard was also a member of downtown theater company Theater Mitu, in residence at New York Theatre Workshop, who are known for their exploration of theatrical forms. When she had applied to drama schools she dropped her last name to avoid special treatment because of her father. She later had second thoughts because her first and middle name combined made her sound like a porn star