RIP Huell Howser

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Huell Howser at the KCRW Pie Contest
Huell Howser at the KCRW Pie Contest (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

A Tennessee native, Huell Howser became an icon of public television here in Southern California, traveling to every corner of the state in search of interesting people and hidden stories. His easy going “oh my gosh!” attitude made him a beloved fixture of local television. Howser died Sunday at age 67, according to reports, just weeks after he retired.

According to his website, he “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.”

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis spoke to Howser’s longtime cameraman, Luis Fuerte; historian and writer D.J. Waldie; and Chapman University’s Sheryl Bourgeois, and has this remembrance:

Here’s Kevin Roderick from LA Observed offering his thoughts about Huell’s contributions to Southern California, as well as his favorite episode of California’s Gold:

Howser also spent some time at KCRW when he recorded his “Guest DJ Project,” choosing favorites that included Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. He was also kind enough to pose with KCRW staff (pictures here),  and he judged KCRW’s annual Good Food Pie Contest.  He will be missed by many (below is a map of the many places he visited).