As Ross McGowan enters his 31st year on Bay Area television, many of us still associate him with the “Ross” of “Ross and Ann” on KPIX’s long-gone People Are Talking. It’s an easy mistake to make, since time has been kind to his boyish good looks. For the past 15 years, McGowan has hosted Mornings on Two, where he brings local and national celebrities to his Bay Area audience every weekday morning. Throughout the past few decades McGowan has collected a bevy of television industry awards, including a Gold Award from the New York Film Festival, the Cable Car Award for Outstanding Broadcast Journalism, and the Communications Excellence to Black Audiences award. Locally McGowan can be found cohosting fundraisers such as Bay Area March of Dimes Telethon and the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. Since his career could take him anywhere in the country, here we learn why he has chosen to return to his roots.
You could live anywhere. Why Marin? When I moved here in 1987 I was coming back home. The first place I lived as a child was at 1 Summit in Mill Valley, the second was 77 Matilda. My grandfather built the garage on that house…a house that set my parents back $4,500. And I was at Old Mill School through the third grade.
What makes you happy in Marin? The water, mountains, and the weather. Not to mention that by living here, you’re within minutes of a world-class city.
What bothers you here? Highway 101, it’s like a parking lot. Too many NIMBYs refused sensible planning! (The SMART train is a bright light.)
What do you value everyday? My two sons, the new woman in my life, and that I was able to spend the bulk of my career in the most beautiful spot in the country.
What is your personal idea of luxury? The bed pulled back and dark chocolate on the pillow!
What person has influenced you the most? Three people: Delia Ybarra, Dennis Friend and Mrs. Bunting—all teachers of mine at Cupertino High School. I never did well in their classes but they always treated me like I was a success.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your work? Taking television viewers to places they might not ordinarily go. For instance: a nudist camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and then the Mustang Ranch was a hoot. And then inside “AIDS WARD 5A” at San Francisco General Hospital, which was an opportunity to put a human face on a terrible disease.
What’s your desert island (favorite) book or album? I’d take one of Harlan Coben’s early books with Myron Bolitar, the sports agent, as the main character. Bolitar has kind of a jaded sarcastic sense of humor. Just perfect!
What’s your favorite place to unwind? Sunday morning in the living room with a cup of coffee, a roaring fire and the newspaper.
Do you have a favorite Marin view? From my front window…it looks over the Tiburon harbor past the ferry dock toward the Golden Gate Bridge and all along the San Francisco skyline. Can’t get any better than that. Too bad I don’t own the place.
What do you like about yourself? I look for the humor in life.
How do you want to be remembered? He refused to wear a lampshade, but he was a lot of fun and caring! Oh yeah, he was a good dad, too.
Mimi Towle has been the editor of Marin Magazine for over a decade. She lived with her family in Sycamore Park and Strawberry and thoroughly enjoyed raising two daughters in the mayhem of Marin’s youth sports; soccer, swim, volleyball, ballet, hip hop, gymnastics and many many hours spent at Miwok Stables. Her community involvements include volunteering at her daughter’s schools, coaching soccer and volleyball (glorified snack mom), being on the board of both Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Currently residing on a floating home in Sausalito, she enjoys all water activity, including learning how to steer a 6-person canoe for the Tamalpais Outrigger Canoe Club. Born and raised in Hawaii, her fondness for the islands has on occasion made its way into the pages of the magazine.