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The Valley mourns the death of Huell Howser

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:26:59 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 12:50:32 AM CST
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

An irreplaceable public TV personality, Huell Howser will be greatly missed.

At the age of 67, the host who used his folksy interviewing style to introduce viewers to little-known golden state locales in "California's Gold", died. Howser's rep said he was suffering a long illness, which shocks people.

"He looked fine, in perfect health. And all that vitality," Angel Cienfuegos said.

Howser's vitality shined through in one of his most famous episodes - his highlight of the Frank Sinatra home in Palm Springs. Frankie Randall, a friend of Sinatra's, gave Howser the tour. Randall recalls a part of the episode when the duo entered the estate.   

"He said, 'I'll just say I'm gonna ring the bell, and you're gonna open the gate. So he rang the bell, and nobody opened the gate. And he said 'and I'm ringing the bell, and I'm ringing the bell, he kept saying it, and they finally caught on on the other side of the gate and opened it up for us," Randall said.

It was this humor of Howsers, this quirky personality, that people loved.

"He rolled with the punches. Whatever it was, whether it went right or wrong, he made it look right," Randall said.

"What I liked about him, he could go into any situation and make a wonderful deal out of it.  Any show I watched was worth watching," Cienfuegos said.

It's that personality people say they will miss.

"He was great to work with, wonderful for the state of California. He'll be missed," Randall said.

Howser's rep said there will be no services, as Howser didn't like that kind of tribute.  The rep added Howser would joke, "We all have to die." His life impacted others.

"The way he got close to people, on camera and with his voice, he was just a powerful human being," Cienfuegos said.