Howard McNear Biography

Updated On Aug 08, 2019 Published On Aug 08, 2019
Facts of Howard McNear
Date of Birth: 1905 , January-27
Date of Death: 1969 , January-3
Birth Nation: United States
Name Howard McNear
Birth Name Howard Terbell McNear
Father Frank Ellis McNear
Mother Enzette Getchell Spencer
Nationality American
Birth Place/City Los Angeles, California, USA
Ethnicity White
Profession Actor
Net Worth $9 million
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color White
Face Color White
Famous for The Andy Griffith Show
Married Helen Spats McNear
Children Christopher McNear
Education Oatman School of Theatre
Movies Bundle of Joy, Follow That Dream, The Fortune Cookie
TV Show Four Star Playhouse, Gunsmoke, Angel
Died January 3, 1969
View moreless Facts of Howard McNear

Howard McNear was an American actor who has worked on stage, radio, and screen. He is widely known for his role in The Andy Griffith Show as Floyd Lawson in the 1960s. McNear has also acted in movies like Blue Hawaii, The Errand Boy, Irma la Douce and Follow That Dream.

Early Life of Howard McNear

Howard Terbell McNear was born on January 27, 1905, in Los Angeles, California to Enzette Getchell Spencer (mother) and Frank Ellis McNear (father).

Howard CAPTION: Howard McNear SOURCE: Mayberry

McNear’s grandfather was a private in Company B, 36th Massachusetts Infantry. He was not known to have any siblings. He is of American nationality and his ethnicity is white.


After completing his high school studies, Howard attended the Oatman School of Theatre.

How old was Howard McNear when he died?

Howard McNear died at the age of 63.

Personal Life: Wife, Son, Death

Howard McNear was married to Helen Spats on January 14, 1935. Helen took her husband’s name after marriage and legally changed her name to Helen McNear.

They have a son named Christopher McNear. They were married for 34 years before Howard died in 1969.


Howard died on January 3, 1969. His 64th birthday was less than a month later.

McNear died from pneumonia which he got after the complications from a stroke at San Fernando Valley Veterans Hospital in Sylmar, California. Actor Luke Perry recently died similarly on March 4, 2019, after being hospitalized for a stroke

Howard CAPTION: Howard McNear had difficulty moving his left arm and legs due to stroke. SOURCE: TheWriteLife

He currently rests in Los Angeles National Cemetery. The eulogy in his funeral was given by actor Parley Baer.  

How tall was Howard McNear?

Though his exact height was not known, Howard McNear was well over 5 feet and 3 inches.

Howard McNear ‘s Career

Unlike other actors, McNear worked at a stock company before acting. He then worked in radio from the late 1930s.

He got his voice recognition in the radio serial Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police.

In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a private during World War II. Howard made his comeback to radio in 1952 in the show, Gunsmoke.

The same year, he also made his debut on screen in the show, Four Star Playhouse in various roles for three episodes. In 1958, Howard appeared as a barber in the show, Leave it to Beaver.

McNear got his iconic role of chatty barber Floyd Lawson on The Andy Griffith Show in 1961. While on the show, he suffered from a stroke and took a break.

Howard CAPTION: Howard McNear acting as the barber, Floyd Lawson. SOURCE: IMDb

The host Andy Griffith asked him to come back and he agreed despite being unable to stand or walk. Eventually, it caught up to him and he left the show in 1967.

His co-star, Jack Dodson stated that he had difficulty remembering lines and was in constant anxiety and frustration prior to leaving the show.

His last movie before death was The Fortune Cookie in 1966. He played the character of Mr. Cimoli in the movie.

Net Worth of Howard McNear

Howard McNear has been in innumerable projects since he started acting in the 1950s. During his lifetime, he appeared in over a hundred movies and television guest spots.

Howard was highly praised for his role in The Andy Griffith Show as Floyd Lawson. Due to its popularity, he was also paid handsomely for it.

Howard CAPTION: Howard McNear SOURCE: Twitter

He was also highly commended for his voice acting in CBS Radio’s Gunman. Due to this, the producers paid him generously.

Looking at all his accomplishments during his lifetime as an actor, Howard McNear had an estimated net worth of $9 million.  


  • Howard McNear had an American nationality.
  • His ethnicity was white.
  • Due to stroke, his left arm and his legs were gravely affected.
  • His wife, Helen McNear also died the same year as her husband.


Howard McNear facts on timeline

Born in Los Angeles, California

January 27 , 1905

Howard Terbell McNear was born on January 27, 1905, in Los Angeles, California to Enzette Getchell Spencer (mother) and Frank Ellis McNear (father)

Married Helen Spats 

January 14 , 1935

Howard McNear was married to Helen Spats on January 14, 1935. They have a son named Christopher McNear. 

Enlisted in the Army


In 1942, Howard McNear enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a private during World War II. 

Made comeback in Gunsmoke


Howard McNear made his comeback from the second World War to radio in 1952 in the show, Gunsmoke. 

Joined the show The Andy Griffith Show 


McNear got his iconic role of chatty barber Floyd Lawson on The Andy Griffith Show in 1961. He played the role for six years.

Howard McNear died

January 3 , 1969

Howard died on January 3, 1969, from pneumonia which he got after the complications from a stroke