Howard, who directed the current release "The Missing," recently recalled how nervous he was to first face Wayne, his co-star in the 1976 film "The Shootist."
Walking into Wayne's hotel room, Howard said he found the Duke playing chess without his hairpiece.
"There's this big bald guy with huge hands," he said, noting Wayne didn't look up from his game until someone showed him a TV Guide cover featuring Howard and co-star Henry Winkler.
"'Ahh, a big shot, huh?'" Wayne said.
Recalled Howard: "I thought: 'Oh man. I'm screwed here on day one.' But it turned out my television background was something he really related to because those Westerns were sort of his version of being a television actor. He felt like with that kind of background, a person would know how to get it done."