Sad to report that "California's Gold" host Huell Howser died yesterday at his home of natural causes. He was 67. Howser had announced his retirement in November of last year.
Huell in Venice, 2005. Click the image to watch the video.
A native of Tennessee, Huell began his television career at WSM-TV in Nashville after receiving his B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee, serving on the staff of a United States Senator and a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Howser later joined WCBS-TV in New York City as host of a magazine-style series. He then came to Los Angeles in 1981 to work as a reporter for KCBS-TV. Huell joined public television station KCET/Los Angeles in 1987 to produce "Videolog," a series of short programs featuring the stories of people from all walks of life. This show became "California‚Äôs Gold", and was the longest running (19 years) and most beloved series about California ever produced.
Howser's production company produced six additional series about life in California, "Visiting with Huell Howser", "Road Trip with Huell Howser", "California‚Äôs Golden Parks", "California‚Äôs Green", "California‚Äôs Water" and "Downtown".
Of his shows, Howser had said "we operate on the premise that TV isn‚Äôt brain surgery. People‚Äôs stories are what it‚Äôs all about, if you have a good story, it doesn‚Äôt have to be overproduced. I want our stories to reveal the wonders of the human spirit and the richness of life in California, including its history, people, culture and natural wonders."
I had spoken with Huell a few times about being a producer on one of his shows years ago. Unfortunately I had other stuff to do at the time, so I had to pass on it. Huell was the same guy "off camera" as on. Part of what I do here at Yo! Venice! is definitely influenced by what Huell and his crew did. Pretty sure most community bloggers would say the same. Thanks Huell, the world was a better place with you in it. RIP.
KCET‚Äôs SoCal Connected will air a special dedication in memory of Huell Howser this evening at 5:30 p.m., repeating at 10:00 p.m.
The following special guests will speak tonight about Howser, who was one of public television's most iconic figures:
¬∑ Al Jerome, President and CEO, KCET
¬∑ Mary Mazur, COO, KCET
¬∑ Phil Noyes, Producer, Huell Howser Productions
¬∑ Louis Fuerte, Cameraman, Huell Howser Productions
¬∑ DJ Walde, Los Angeles historian, author and SoCal Connected contributor
January 20, 2012
September 21, 2010
August 25, 2010
October 15, 2009
August 18, 2010
February 17, 2010
A rare treasure that somehow was able to build a career upon his own personality rather than go through the "media machine" and become just like the other talking faces on TV. ¬†Always made me smile and asked the questions that I would have asked, no matter how lame or goofy, if I had been there.... ¬†I hope he didn't suffer much. One of the few people in the media to use humor and whimsical wonder while informing us, instead of scaring us half-to-death about the future....¬†
May 22, 2010
I am concerned why we and moi are so concerned about cause of death, was he gay, etc. He was an amazing guy, opened us up¬† to looking around CA with a fresh eye. I am disturbed that we are all wanting to know the gruesome details (I include myself here as well) when that really misses the point. This guy had such a fresh, open, almost childish approach to things that we all appreciated. That is probably where it is better for us to focus. I fear we have all been trained by the media to go in diirections that have no purpose Certainly not the huell way to approach things,hey He just went for the obvious, which eluded us all as in the 1992 riots when he asked the looters, "Why are you doing that?" That just says it all. He asked the obvious question, which most of us wouldn't think of or have the nerve to ask. And now we are wondering aob\bout cause of death, sexual orientation instead of recognizing what made this guy so outstanding. He was one amazing creature and truly a California icon.
January 11, 2013
Huell was so great and I loved the shows he produced and he was the greatest host.
I loved his real enthusiasm and his spark for making the ordinary extraordinary.
i learned so much about California over the years from Huell.
He seeemd like a friend.
And the thought of thinking about or being concerned how he passed away is of
no concern to me. I'm never interested in that, too morbid, especially when it comes
to someone i cared for or admired. Just his passing is bad enough and the sad thought
there will be no more fun watching Huell explore California and report the "amazing"
things he finds along the way.
RIP Huell, you will be missed.
I am disturbed that we are all wanting to know the gruesome details (I include myself here as well) when that really misses the point.
Too bad he isn't around to see the huge outpouring of love everyone had for him.
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