A consummate character actor whose deep Southern drawl (courtesy of a Georgia birth and South Carolina upbringing) made him a highly sought-after personality. Howell began his career on Broadway in “Make A Million.” Hollywood took note of his accent and tried to make the best use of it, from a minor role in Splendor in the Grass (1961) to the Preacher in Grand Theft Auto.
Equally at home on the small screen, Howell was a familiar face on television throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. A few of his guest spots included The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres, Here Come the Brides, Columbo, JAG, The Fall Guy, Hunter, Webster, Happy Days and Scarecrow & Mrs. King.
His career followed in the vein of other famous character actors like John Carradine, Harry Dean Stanton, Pat Hingle and Woody Strode (his co-star in Kingdom of the Spiders). No matter the movie, Howell acted as if it was a plum role. From big-budget films like Far And Away and Geronimo: An American Legend to cult classics (Humanoids From the Deep, Kingdom of the Spiders) to low-budget flicks (Star Hunter, Alien Species), Howell made himself at home. Even the exploitation industry found its uses for Howell, giving some respectability to titles like Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off, Bikini Drive-In, Vice Girls and Bikini Hoe-Down.
Though known mostly for his acting skills, Howell did try his hand at the other side of the camera. He wrote screenplays for Click: The Calendar Girl Killer, One Block Away and B.O.R.N. and also three episodes of “The Rookies.” He was also an associate producer for B.O.R.N.