PALM SPRINGS (CBSLA.com) — KCET icon Huell Howser has died at the age of 67, according to his assistant, Ryan Morris.
Howser, who hosted PBS’ “California’s Gold”, died of natural causes at his home on Sunday night.
He was known for his folksy, aw-shucks demeanor as he highlighted California’s small towns, landmarks and treasures.
Prior to his work at KCET, Howser was a reporter at KCBS (CBS2) and also worked as a weekend anchor and reporter for “Entertainment Tonight.” He started his various PBS shows in 1985.
Howser retired from broadcasting last year due to health concerns.
“The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening (a fan) even created a Howser-like reporter character in 2005 as a tribute. The show’s “Howell Huser” has appeared in at least two episodes.
KCET posted the following statement on its Web site Monday:
“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.”