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Huell Howser, Southern California TV Icon, Has Died

Howser, 67, died early Monday at his home in Palm Springs. He featured Santa Monica Seafood and the original Hot Dog on a Stick at Santa Monica Beach on his shows.

One of Southern California's most familiar faces and voices has died.

Huell Howser, host of the enduring documentary TV show "California's Gold" and others about California's parks and history, died early Monday morning at his home in Palm Springs. He was 67.

Amid rumors about his failing health, Howser's retirement was announced in November. Howser's assistant confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Howser is "retiring from filming new shows or making appearances (or interviews) but the show will continue to air in reruns for awhile."

"California's Gold" ran for 19 years, according to the website. The show was an ode to the people, places and landmarks that made California unique. Howser's interviewing style and outbursts ("This is amazing!"), and its low-maintenance production style, made the show memorable.

He featured Santa Monica Seafood and the original Hot Dog on a Stick, just south of the Santa Monica Pier, on his shows.

"We've all seen it," said Hot Dog on a Stick manager Stephanie Boon. "It's just something that we've all happened to have seen because we love working here."

A native of Tennessee, with twang to match, Howser moved to California in 1981 to work as a reporter for KCBS-TV in L.A, according to his website. In 1987, he began to produce "Videolog" on KCET, which profiled people and local stories. The show later took on a California focus.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl posted his sympathies on his Facebook page Monday: "My deepest sympathy goes to my colleague Huell Howser. A true expression of integrity and a dear friend -- he will be greatly missed. I will now pray to him for strength as we continue our journey. God bless you, Huell."

Gustavo Arellano, editor of OCWeekly and author of several books, also posted: "RIP to one of the greatest Californians ever..."

Share your favorite memories of Huell Howser or your favorite "California's Gold" episode in the comments below.

— This article was compiled with information from City News Service. Patch editor Jenna Chandler contributed to this report.

Ginny Griffith Gustin January 09, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Another Santa Monica connection was his memorable appearance at the main library for a Friends of the Library event. This is a sad loss for all Californians.
Mauve W. January 10, 2013 at 02:10 AM
I always enjoyed watching 'California Gold'. It was such a great show to watch, and he will be greatly missed!
Matt Jackson January 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Huell showed a genuine warmth to all he would meet. He educated us on the simple beauty of our surroundings. He was an inspiration of life. He blessed us, God bless him.
mattamus10@gmail.com January 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Huell showed a genuine warmth to all he would meet. He educated us on the simple beauty of our surroundings. He was an inspiration of life. He blessed us all, God bless him!
BillyBeyond January 12, 2013 at 11:08 PM
A fun high Desert Dad. RIP Huell. See you at the pool party in the sky.

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