Story Summary

Huell Howser dies

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 2 updates

Hundreds gathered Tuesday to celebrate and remember the life of television host Huell Howser at Griffith Observatory just before sunset Tuesday afternoon.

L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge arranged the memorial for Howser, who died last week at 67, and who became a California household name in three decades of exploring the state’s people and places in his homespun television shows.

Tuesday’s gathering featured a lineup of speeches, from the director of the observatory, the executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, pop culture historian Charles Phoenix and others. As the sun began sinking just before 5 p.m., an LAPD helicopter circled in a salute.

Then Howser’s voice suddenly boomed from the speakers, singing “California, Here I Come.”LaBonge asked everyone to sing along, and they did. As the song played again and again, people joined him, singing and dancing on the observatory steps.

It was heartfelt. It was hokey. It felt just right.

Everyone thought they knew what Howser would have said if he’d seen it.

“Oh my gosh!” they could practically hear him. “That’s amaaaaaazing!”


LOS ANGELES — Huell Howser, the folksy host of “California’s Gold” and other popular public television travelogue programs, has died. He was 67.

HuellHowserFamed for blurting out “That’s amazing!” or “Oh my gosh!” during interviews, Howser, who died Sunday night, had recently retired from making original episodes of “California’s Gold,” in which he traveled around the state tracking down interesting people and places. The program aired in San Diego on KPBS and statewide on public TV stations.

The Tennessee native moved to California in 1981 to be a reporter at the Los Angeles station KCBS, then later he transitioned to more long-form pieces for PBS. He hosted California’s Gold for 19 years.

Howser’s retirement was announced on Nov. 27.

Several sources told media outlets that Howser died of natural causes.