×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Huell Howser dies at 67

Longtime host of 'California's Gold' was local icon

Huell Howser, folksy enthusiast for all manner of local gems in the Golden State and long the host of travel show “California’s Gold,” died of natural causes in Palm Springs early Monday morning. He was 67.

Howser’s retirement was announced on Nov. 27.

“California’s Gold” was produced at KCET in Los Angeles for PBS stations throughout the state.

Describing Howser’s unique talent, Variety once said he has “a gift for probing the emotional truths of people’s lives and gently coaxing them into the television screen.”

In a statement, KCET president and chief exectuive Al Jerome said, “Huell elevated the simple joys and undiscovered nuggets of living in our great state. He made the magnificence and power of nature seem accessible by bringing it into our living rooms. Most importantly, he reminded us to find the magic and wonderment in our lives every day. Huell was able to brilliantly capture the wonder in obscurity. From pastrami sandwiches and artwork woven from lint to the exoticism of cactus gardens and the splendor of Yosemite — he brought us the magic, the humor and poignancy of our region.”

Though Howser was famously not a native of California — his accent immediately gave away his Tennessee origins — he embraced his adopted state; he became famous for his awestruck declaration “Amaaaazing!” in response to new discoveries on “California’s Gold.”

He had become such an institution in the Los Angeles area that he earned an appearance as himself on “The Simpsons” in 2009.

Howser’s other efforts at KCET included the series “Visiting With Huell Howser,” “Road Trip With Huell Howser,” “California’s Golden Parks,” “California’s Green,” “California’s Water” and, most recently, “Downtown.”

Born in Gallatin, Tenn., Huell Burnley Howser earned a B.A. in history from the U. of Tennessee, Knoxville. He served in the Marines and on the staff of Sen. Howard Baker before beginning his television career at a Nashville station. After a stint in New York, he moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and became a reporter at KCBS and then a weekend host on “Entertainment Tonight.”

Howser went to work for KCET in 1987, and “California’s Gold” premiered in 1991.

A digital archive of Howser’s work was established at Chapman U. It can be accessed at HuellHowserArchives.com; visitors to the site can view all of his TV shows free of charge.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Welcome to 'Camp Redwood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of “American Horror Story: 1984” entitled “Camp Redwood.” Welcome back to “American Horror Story,” which in its ninth season travels back in time to the 1970s and 1980s to play in the slasher genre. Only one episode into the season, it already [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • The Mentalist

    #NotWorthLess: 'I Was Great and Deserve to Be Paid the Same'

    Women writers, producers and assistants across Twitter turned the hashtag #NotWorthLess into a trend Wednesday, shining a light on issues of pay inequality in the entertainment business. Sparked by screenwriter Adele Lim’s recent decision to walk away from the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel in protest of being paid less than her male co-writer, dozens of [...]

  • does self-described "family brands" business Hasbro

    With Hasbro Acquisition, Is eOne Planning to Offload Family-Unfriendly Properties?

    Hasbro’s $4 billion acquisition of eOne in August instantly put the Canadian toy giant in the league of major entertainment and content companies thanks to eOne’s arsenal of IP assets in music, television and film. But does the self-described “family brands” business that’s home to The Game of Life and My Little Pony align with [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: Season

    'The Bachelor': ABC Reality Boss Talks Ratings Success, Diversity Backlash

    Last night, Peter Weber was unveiled, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the next Bachelor during the season finale of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Weber’s selection coincided with a season-high rating for “Paradise,” and caps a solid ratings summer for the “Bachelor” franchise. As ratings have been in decline across the board this summer, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content