Huell Howser, a fixture of California local television and former host of “California’s Gold” on PBS, has died. He was 67.
Howser’s death was first reported by OC Weekly, which did not indicate how the California broadcasting legend died.
Born in Gallatin, Tenn., in 1945, Howser moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to become a reporter for KCBS, according to his biography on calgold.com.
“His enthusiasm for his new home inspired the idea for the television series that started it all, 'California’s Gold,'” the bio says. “Huell had a simple idea: If he traveled the state with an open heart and an open mind, a microphone and a camera, he would uncover a treasure of California stories.”
Howser hosted a number of shows for PBS that were broadcast across the Golden State, including programs on the environment (“California’s Green”), state highway adventures (“Road Trip”), state parks (“California’s Golden Parks”), the coastline (“California’s Golden Coast”), the Spanish missions (“California’s Missions”), and a show about Southern California (“VISITING… With Huell Howser.")
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Howser said he tried to put a spotlight on the people of California through his shows.
“We operate on the premise that TV isn’t brain surgery. People’s stories are what it’s all about," Howser said on his bio. "If you have a good story, it doesn’t 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."
Howser retired from television last year, OC Weekly reported.
Californians from across the state and beyond along with entertainment personalities paid tribute to Howser on Twitter, where “Huell Howser” was trending Monday on the micro-blogging site as word of his death spread.
“RIP Huell Howser. I genuinely & sincerely hope his first words upon entering Heaven were ‘This is AMAZING!’” tweeted radio host Bryan Bishop.
“RIP Huell Howser. Such tragic news. Never was there a man more gregarious and enthused about everything. California will miss you greatly,” wrote David Rosenfeld.
“I was late to getting into Huell Howser, but thankfully got to experience some of his magic and shake his hand. RIP,” shared Twitter user @ramondestroys.
“The world without Huell Howser is a little less gold,” said Alf LaMont.