Huell Howser, the host of PBS’s California’s Gold, died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles Sunday. He was 67 years old.
California’s Gold is a travel program that explores different natural, cultural, and historical landmarks in the Golden State. The show is currently in its 18th season, with 443 episodes airing so far.
President and chief executive of KCET, Al Jerome, said of Howser’s death:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Huell’s passing. This is a tremendous personal and professional loss to his friends and colleagues as well as his legions of fans. Throughout his more than two decades with KCET, Huell inspired everyone at the station with his enthusiasm and storytelling about this great state in which we live.”
Jerome also said that Howser “was able to brilliantly capture wonder in obscurity … he brought us the magic, the humor and poignancy of our region.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Howser announced on November 27 that he was retiring and would not be filming any more original episodes of California’s Gold. It had been announced at that time that reruns would continue to air on KVIE in Sacramento and other PBS stations.
Howser was born in Gallatin, Tennessee on October 18, 1945. His name is a portmanteau of his parent’s first names, Harold and Jewell. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Howser joined the Marine Corps. When he left the service, he started his television career at WSM-TV in Nashville. He later moved to New York and then to Los Angeles in 1981 to become a reporter at KCBS-TV. He joined KCET in 1985 and began hosting California’s Gold.