Jan 12, 2013
Huell Howser retired from television in November after 30 years in which he became a legendary California icon and familiar friend to many.
Huell Burnley Howser was born on October 18, 1945 in Tennessee. After earning a B.A. in History and serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Howser worked for U.S. Senator Howard Baker (R-Tennessee).
Huell Howser started his TV broadcasting career in Nashville before briefly taking his act to New York City. Shortly afterward, he heard a voice telling him to "go west, young man."
In 1981, he landed in Los Angeles and subsequently worked as on-air talent for KCBS-TV, "Entertainment Tonight" and KCET-TV, then a Southern California PBS affiliate station.
Howser struck gold in California, hosting several public television programs, such as "Videolog," "Visiting with Huell Howser," "Road Trip with Huell Howser," "California's Golden Parks," "California's Green," "California's Water," "Downtown" and, of course, "California's Gold."
"We are deeply saddened by the news of Huell's passing," said KCET-TV CEO Al Jerome. "This is a tremendous personal and professional loss to his friends and colleagues, as well as his legions of fans."
"A Los Angeles treasure and California icon," declared Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Huell Howser's cause of death was complications from prostate cancer. When Californiality published the news of Huell Howser's retirement in November, it was internally known to us that he was in rapidly declining health throughout 2012.
At that time, this blog had publicly stated that Huell Howser retired because he would rather personally enjoy California than to talk about it on TV day after day. He never got to relax and enjoy it, sadly.
Since Huell was inspirational and instrumental in the launching of Californiality years ago, we chose to give a California legend some breathing room for personal privacy --- and personal dignity.
Huell Howser's illness was his own personal business.
There will be no funeral nor memorial service because Huell emphatically said he did not want one.
What Huell did say he wanted was to be cremated and have his ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles. That is where his remains are now.
Huell Howser was a Christian believer and he is now with God. Tearfully, we can only imagine his overly-awed megawatt personality now in maximum overdrive upon seeing all the wonders of Heaven.
Huell died a popular rock and roll singer, as evidenced in the music video below. The new program now enthusiastically hosted by the eternally optimistic Huell Howser can only be called "Heaven's Gold."
Huell Howser's passing is one of the most difficult news stories ever covered by Californiality, even though we had months to emotionally prepare. This blog would not have existed without him.
There is now a giant hole in the heart of the Golden State.
The extensive Huell Howser Archive is available 24/7 online at the Chapman University website. All of Huell's episodes can be viewed by everyone for free.
We celebrate our brother's graduation into Glory, but we also feel devastated as we join millions of believers, friends and fans who mourn the death of Huell Howser.
Thank you so much for everything, Huell. We know you'll be waiting as our tour guide through Heaven when we arrive.
Huell Howser 1945-2013