Huell Burnley Howser
October 18, 1945
Gallatin, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||January 7, 2013 67) (aged|
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Ashes scattered off the coast of Los Angeles County, California|
|Alma mater||University of Tennessee|
|Occupation||Television personality, actor, producer, writer, singer, voice artist|
Huell Burnley Howser (October 18, 1945 – January 7, 2013) was an American television personality, actor, producer, writer, singer, and voice artist, best known for hosting, producing, and writing California's Gold , his human interest show produced by KCET in Los Angeles for California PBS stations. The archive of his video chronicles offers an enhanced understanding of the history, culture, and people of California. He also voiced the Backson in Winnie the Pooh (2011).
Howser was born in Gallatin, Tennessee, on October 18, 1945, to Harold Chamberlain and Jewell Havens (Burnley) Howser.Howser's first name is a portmanteau of his parents' given names, Harold and Jewell, as Howser explained in the California's Gold episode "Smartsville."
He received a B.A. in history from the University of Tennessee, where he served as student body president.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and on the staff of U.S. Senator Howard Baker, Howser began his television career at WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, where he produced shows focused on human interest stories, such as Happy Featuresand The Happy World of Huell Howser. Howser was also a television personality working for the University of Tennessee.
After working in New York City as the host of WCBS-TV's "Real Life" show,Howser moved to Los Angeles, California in 1981 to work as a reporter for KCBS-TV. During 1982 and 1983, he served as weekend host and correspondent for Entertainment Tonight . In 1983, he joined KCET (then a PBS affiliate) as host and producer of Videolog, a series of brief human-interest segments running less than 10 minutes each, that aired in between the station's shorter programs to fill up air time. "Videolog" eventually became one of the more popular programs on KCET, and in 1990, the show was expanded to half hour-long episodes. Included in Videolog was lint artist Slater Barron among other topics relevant to Los Angeles and adjacent communities.
In 1991, after spending his vacation driving across the Golden State and visiting with all 13 PBS stations in California, California's Gold premiered in April of that year.California's Gold highlights small towns, landmarks, events, or places of interest throughout California that are not well known to the general public. Howser conducted informal, often impromptu, interviews with locals involved with the sites he visited. He also produced California's Communities, California's Golden Fairs, Downtown, California's Water, California's Green, California's Golden Coast, California's Golden Parks, Road Trip, Visiting... with Huell Howser, California Missions, Palm Springs, Our Neighborhoods, The Bench, and various specials.
Articles written by Howser have appeared in Westways , the magazine of the Automobile Club of Southern California.
In 1997, Howser featured prominently as himself alongside Tracey Ullman in character as Ruby Romaine in the Tracey Takes On... episode "Hollywood."[ citation needed ]
Howser spearheaded an unsuccessful effort to stop the demolition of buildings designed by Paul Williams at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
He appeared in Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) in his capacity as a reporter, witnessing the demolition and shredding of a Honda EV Plus.
In 2011, Howser voiced the Backson in the post-credits scene of Walt Disney Animation Studios's feature film Winnie the Pooh .
Howser lived in the historic El Royale apartments in Los Angeles, California and also had homes in Palm Springs and Twentynine Palms.
On June 29, 2015, Howser's Twentynine Palms home became available for rentals and weddings.
Howser mentioned that he was a Methodist during his episode covering the Nevada County Fair on California's Golden Fairs.
In 2003, Howser purchased the 1,800-square-foot (170 m2) Volcano House, situated on a volcanic cinder cone just outside Barstow in Newberry Springs, along with 60 acres (24 ha) of desert and a man-made lake.
In 2010, Howser put his unusual Newberry Springs, California, residence (the "Volcano House,") on the market for $650,000.
In June 2012, The Panther, a student-run newspaper for Chapman University announced that Howser had donated the Volcano House to the school.
On September 3, 2015, Chapman University sold the Volcano House for $750,000.
On November 27, 2012, The Sacramento Bee reported that Howser was retiring from making new shows, amid speculation in the television community that he was seriously ill.
On January 7, 2013, Howser died at his Palm Springs home, at the age of 67. He had been battling cancer for several years and his death certificate listed metastatic prostate cancer as the cause. Howser's body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea off the coast of Los Angeles County.
On January 15, 2013, a memorial was held for Howser, who said before his death that he did not want a funeral as he did not want attention.
Howser donated his videotaped collection of California's Gold episodes, as well as those of his other series, to Chapman University in 2011. He also donated his personal papers, and a large collection of books on California history to the university.The school established the Huell Howser Archives, which, when completed, will offer the public free access to the entire digitized collection of his life's work. The archives can be accessed at Chapman University as well as on the internet. He also gave his extensive art collection, which consists mostly of "found-object" art collected during his travels, to the university, and endowed the California's Gold Scholarship Fund. Upon his death he bequeathed his remaining two homes to the university, the proceeds from the sale of which will be added to the scholarship fund.
Testimonials to Howser's unique contribution to the celebration of California history and culture were acknowledged in numerous media sources upon word of his death. Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly editor, called Howser "the greatest Californian since Hiram Johnson,"noting that for Howser, "California was the ultimate temple of the American dream." Such an assessment reflects the high regard in which many Californians hold Howser's achievement of a very media savvy and unabashedly enthusiastic promotion of their state's heritage.
In 2015, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.
Howser's enthusiastic style as host of his various travel shows led to him being impersonated and lampooned by comedians and radio personalities, such as Adam Carolla,Dana Gould, Ralph Garman, and James Adomian.
Matt Groening has stated he is a fan of Howserand featured him in two episodes of The Simpsons : "There's Something About Marrying," in which a character named Howell Huser (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) falls off a turnip truck, and "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?," in which the real Howser presents a program similar to Marc Summers' Unwrapped television program titled Under the Wrapper. Howser received a voice credit for the episode. The Simpsons episode "A Test Before Trying" commemorated his death with a quick cartoon memorial shot at the end of the episode, stating: "In Memory of Huell Howser, Friend of the Simpsons and a friend of California."
|2006||Who Killed the Electric Car?||Reporter|
Episode "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?"
|2011||Winnie the Pooh||Backson||Voice|
California's Gold is a public television human interest program that explores the natural, cultural, and historical features of California. The series ran for 24 seasons beginning in 1991, and was produced and hosted by Huell Howser in collaboration with KCET, Los Angeles. The series ceased production when Howser retired in November 2012, shortly before his death on January 7, 2013, although episodes continued to be shown for some time after his death.
KCET, virtual and UHF digital channel 28, is a secondary Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station licensed to Los Angeles, California, United States. Owned by the Public Media Group of Southern California, it is sister to Huntington Beach-licensed primary PBS member KOCE-TV. The two stations share studios at The Pointe in Burbank; KCET's transmitter is located atop Mount Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains.
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The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, California, is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world. It was opened in September 1963 as a way of getting from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of San Jacinto Peak and was constructed in rugged Chino Canyon. Before its construction, the only way to the top of the mountain was to hike hours from Idyllwild. The rotating cars were added in 2000.
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Cabazon Dinosaurs, formerly Claude Bell's Dinosaurs, is a roadside attraction in Cabazon, California, featuring two enormous, steel-and-concrete dinosaurs named Dinny the Dinosaur and Mr. Rex. Located just west of Palm Springs, the 150-foot-long (46 m) Brontosaurus and the 65-foot-tall (20 m) Tyrannosaurus rex are visible from the freeway to travelers passing by on Southern California's Interstate 10. The roadside dinosaurs are best known for their appearance in the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985).
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Sherman Indian High School (SIHS) is an off-reservation boarding high school for Native Americans. Originally opened in 1892 as the Perris Indian School, in Perris, California, the school was relocated to Riverside, California in 1903, under the name Sherman Institute. When the school was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1971, it became known as Sherman Indian High School.
The San Gorgonio Pass wind farm is a wind farm that stretches from the eastern slope of the San Gorgonio Pass, near Cabazon, to North Palm Springs, on the western end of the Coachella Valley, in Riverside County, California. Flanked by Mount San Gorgonio and the Transverse Ranges to the North, and Mount San Jacinto and the Peninsular Ranges to the South, the San Gorgonio Pass is a transitional zone from a Mediterranean climate west of the pass, to a Desert climate east of the pass. This makes the pass area one of the windiest places in the United States.
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