Huell Burnley Howser was born October 18, 1945 in Gallatin, Tennessee. Huell's name comes from a is a combination of his parents' names, Harold and Jewell. He received a B.A. in history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he also served as student body president. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and on the staff of Sen. Howard Baker, Howser began his television career at WSM-TV in Nashville. He began a series of "human interest" stories for WSM. Howser became extremely popular as the host of a popular segment on what was at that time still a market-dominant station, especially with regard to local news.
After working in New York, he moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to work as a reporter for KCBS-TV. During 1982-83, he also served as weekend host and correspondent for Entertainment Tonight.
In 1985 he joined Los Angeles television station KCET, then a PBS affiliate, as a producer of Videolog, covering short topics including lint.
California's Gold highlights small towns, landmarks, events or places of interest throughout California which are not well known to the general public, with Howser conducting informal interviews with the locals. He also produced derived shows including California's Golden Parks, California's Water, Visiting... with Huell Howser, Our Neighborhoods, The Bench, Road Trip, California's Golden Fairs and various specials.
His distinctive style as host of his various travel shows led to him being impersonated and lampooned by many different comedians and radio personalities, such as Adam Carolla, Dana Gould and James Adomian.
Matt Groening has stated he is a fan of Howser, and has featured him in two episodes of The Simpsons: "There's Something About Marrying", where a character named Howell Huser fell off a turnip truck, and "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?", where the real Howser is presenting a program similar to Marc Summers's Unwrapped television program. Howser received a voice credit for the episode.
In 2011, Howser voiced the Backson in the post-credits scene of Walt Disney Animation Studios's 2011 feature film, Winnie the Pooh.
To quote Huell Howser, "People's stories are what it's all about".
Good Night Mr. Howser