Leo Richard Howard is an American actor and model who is well-trained in martial arts. Known to incorporate his karate skills into roles he portrays on the screen, he not only brings to life his characters with his graceful moves, but also adds credibility to the action roles he plays. He was just a little boy when he developed an interest in martial arts. He started receiving formal training in the field when he was just four and at the age of nine, he became the youngest member to perform with Mullins' Sideswipe Performance Team. Interestingly, it was at a martial arts tournament that Howard got noticed for his good looks and was advised to try for modeling gigs. Excited at the opportunity, he soon became a model and before long ventured into acting as well. He started his acting career with a guest role in a television series. Within a few years he was getting more substantial roles which also offered him the scope to display his martial arts skills. His success as a television star led him into films as well. After playing a few minor roles in movies, he bagged the chance to play Young Conan in the fantasy film ‘Conan the Barbarian’ which helped establish Howard as a popular young film actor.
Childhood & Early Life
Leo Howard was born on July 13, 1997 in Newport Beach, California. He is the only child of Randye and Todd "The Big Bulldog" Howard, both of who are professional dog breeders. The family operates The Big Bulldog Ranch, where they specialize in breeding English and French bulldogs. Leo, who is of mixed ancestry, was primarily raised in the small town of Fallbrook in Northern San Diego County. He became interested in martial arts when he was just three years old. His parents enrolled him for formal training when he was four. He had an innate aptitude for martial arts and he was just seven when he began developing his extreme martial arts skills by adding gymnastics to his already grueling training routine. As he matured, he began training under martial arts world champion Matt Mullins, becoming the youngest student in his class. Howard flourished under the able guidance of the master, and went on to win three world championships by the time he was eight. As a nine-year-old, Howard became the youngest member to perform with Mullins' Sideswipe Performance Team, a traveling martial arts-based group.
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Along with martial arts, Leo Howard also harbored a love for acting. He once got noticed for his good looks at a martial arts tournament and was referred to a talent agent. He started his career as a model for print advertisements and soon started appearing in television commercials. He made his television debut in 2005, in a small guest role on the series ‘Monk.’ He focused more on martial arts over the next few years and returned to acting in 2009. He played a lead role as Leo Little in ‘Leo Little's Big Show’ from 2009-11.
He ventured into films as well in 2009, playing small roles in movies, such as ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,’ ‘Shorts,’ and ‘Children of the Corn.’ A few more minor TV and film roles followed in 2010. The young actor got a big break in 2011 when he was cast as Young Conan in the fantasy movie ‘Conan the Barbarian.’ The film did not perform well commercially but Leo Howard definitely caught the viewers’ attention with his performance. The same year, he ended up bagging the lead role of Jack Brewer in the Disney XD Original Series ‘Kickin' It’ which ran successfully for four seasons until 2015. Some of the actor’s recent works are the film ‘You're Gonna Miss Me’ (2016) and the horror series ‘Freakish.’
Leo Howard is best known for his role as “Jack,” a teenage karate expert in the Disney XD series ‘Kickin’ It.’ As he portrayed a main role, he received top billing which established him as a household name all over America. He also gained much appreciation for performing his own stunts despite his young age. Along with acting in the series, Howard also directed the Season 4 episode ‘Fight at the Museum,’ which led to his certification as the youngest TV director ever by the Guinness World Records.
Awards & Achievements
Leo Howard won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film-Young Ensemble Cast (shared with Jimmy Bennett, Jake Short, Devon Gearhart, Jolie Vanier and Trevor Gagnon) in 2010 for the film ‘Shorts.’
Leo Howard is very close to his parents. He loves animals and is interested in veterinary medicine. His hobbies include playing guitar, cooking, and collecting antique weapons. He has a pet bulldog named Bella.