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California TV Icon Huell Howser Dies
The host of television show “California’s Gold,” Huell Howser, passed away of natural causes at the age of 67 at his home on Sunday night. Howser’s death was first reported by OC Weekly. Howser is not just a figure in the state of California, but also across the country, as he appeared as himself in an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2009.
Howser moved to Los Angeles in 1981, beginning his career as a reported with KCBS-TV. His overall television career started in Nashville with WSM-TV after he earned his B.A. from the University of Tennessee.
Howser abruptly retired from his television show in November of 2012 as rumors of an illness came with his announcement. He did not comment regarding his sudden retirement. All of his “California’s Gold” tapes were donated in 2011 to Chapman University in Orange in order to be digitized. The library at the school also received over 1,800 books about the state from Howser.
Howser also set up multiple scholarships at the school and donated the “Volcano House,” a 60-acre space-age home in the desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada. He gave the property to the school in May of 2012 after listing the property for $750,000.
Howser’s friend and producer, Ryan Morris, told The Huffington Post that Howser spent the last six months resting at home. All Morris said about the illness was that it lasted for two to three years. Morris also clarified that Howser died during the overnight hours, with his death being reported to the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office around 2:35 a.m. Monday.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, released a statement that said:
“I’m saddened to hear of the death of my friend Huell Howser, a Los Angeles treasure and California icon.
Although he was originally from Tennessee, Huell loved California more than most natives. His long-running television program, California’s Gold, shared with audiences the best our state has to offer. Huell would travel anywhere to show viewers the beauty and variety of the Golden State, from its most famous landmarks to the least known sights. And his boundless enthusiasm and curiosity was infectious, making us all see these places with the same amazement he did.
His death is a loss that will be felt throughout Los Angeles and California. He will be greatly missed.”
A statement was also released by KCET that reads:
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Huell’s passing. This is a tremendous personal and professional loss to his friends and colleagues, as well as his legions of fans. 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. We will miss him very much.”