Longtime Southern California television host and Palm Springs resident Huell Howser, who used his folksy interviewing style to introduce viewers to little-known Golden State locales and the state's unique residents, died today at age 67.
Howser died in Palm Springs at 2:35 a.m. of natural causes, according to the Riverside County Coroner's Office.
Howser was best known for hosting the public-broadcasting series "California's Gold," which ran for 19 years.
He started his television career at WSM in Nashville after graduating from the University of Tennessee, working for a United States senator and serving in the Marine Corps. He hosted a magazine-style series at WCBS in New York City before moving to Los Angeles in 1981 to work as a reporter for CBS2, according to his website.
He joined public television station KCET in 1987 to produce "Videolog," short programs featuring people's unique stories. The series later expanded to people and places throughout California.
Howser quietly retired from "California Gold" late last year, amid rumors about his failing health. His assistant, Ryan Morris, told the Los Angeles Times in November that Howser was retiring from filming new shows, saying he "is just trying to get away from television and enjoy some free time."
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.
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