John Howard was an American actor noted for his work in film and television.
Born John R. Cox, Jr. in Cleveland, Ohio, he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of what is now Case Western Reserve University. At college he discovered a love for the theater, and took part in student productions. The good-looking and personable young Howard soon became a contract player for Paramount, working in a dozen pictures before getting his first memorable role as Ronald Colman’s younger brother in Lost Horizon. He soon took over for Colman in the popular Bulldog Drummond series of films, starring in seven of the features, and maintaining the film version of the detective as far more sophisticated than the original print character. Howard’s next noteworthy assignment was as Katharine Hepburn’s fiancé in The Philadelphia Story. He served in the Navy during World War II, eventually as Executive Officer aboard a minesweeper. When his vessel struck a mine off the French coast in August, 1944, killing the captain and severely damaging the ship, Howard took over command and fought valiantly to save his ship and crew, even jumping into the sea to save several wounded sailors. For his gallantry he was awarded both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.
Upon his return to Hollywood, Howard was given the lead in lesser projects, but limited to supporting roles in feature pictures. Even his solid performance as Laraine Day’s husband in The High and the Mighty did not generate any opportunities to break the pattern.