Sep 27, 2023
Carol Duvall, HGTV's 'Queen of Crafts,' dies at 97
Carol Duvall — a TV host dubbed the "Queen of Crafts" by HGTV and considered a forerunner to Martha Stewart — died Monday at age 97 in Traverse City. For more than half a century, Duvall was a beloved
Carol Duvall — a TV host dubbed the "Queen of Crafts" by HGTV and considered a forerunner to Martha Stewart — died Monday at age 97 in Traverse City.
For more than half a century, Duvall was a beloved small-screen personality who felt like a friend to viewers. Her sunny presence and gentle humor were her trademarks as she demonstrated how to do everything from scrapbooking to jewelry making.
Duvall’s career stretched from her early days in Grand Rapids and the Detroit television market to national fame, most notably through HGTV’s “The Carol Duvall Show,” which ran on the cable network until 2005.
Born in 1926 in Milwaukee, Duvall moved to Grand Rapids when she was 11, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
After attending Michigan State University, she got her start in broadcasting in 1951 at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, where she auditioned for a job at the new station and wound up hosting a children’s program. Back then, according to a 2017 Record-Eagle profile of Duvall, “she ‘kept house’ for her husband, widowed father, invalid uncle, teenage brother and two younger children.”
In the interview, Duvall said she enjoyed taking on a TV role: “I was always interested in theater. To me, it was like being on stage. When you’re doing something you love, it’s fun.”
In 1962, Duvall began working for WWJ-TV in Detroit (now WDIV-TV, Local 4). She spent nearly 20 years in Detroit at positions ranging from anchor to producer to hosting her first craft show in what would become a legendary role.
She was invited by a former intern she knew to join a project called “The Home Show” (aka “Home”), where she became the craft expert for its six-year run on ABC. it ran from 1988 to 1994 — the same year she started "The Carol Duvall Show" on HGTV.
After HGTV stopped airing Duvall's show in 2005, it moved to the DIY network and ran there until 2009.
Duvall's legacy remains popular online through videos on YouTube and Pinterest. “The Carol Duvall Show” is available to stream on Discovery+, and segments of episodes are still posted on HGTV.
Duvall also wrote two books, 1972’s “Wanna Make Something Out of It?” and 2007’s “Paper Crafting with Carol Duvall.”
Duvall had been living for about seven years at Cordia, a senior living center on the grounds of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, at the time of her death. In 2017, she spoke to the Ticker, a Traverse City news site, about her life there and her early days in TV.
She told the Ticker that she missed being on the air sometimes. “I’d been on TV for 56 years. Now when I meet or hear of somebody with a great craft idea, I (don’t) have any place to share it!," she said.
Those who’d like to share memories of Duvall can do so at the Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Traverse City, where she is named as Carol-Jean Duvall in her obituary.
"I had never had the pleasure of meeting Carol Duvall in person, however she was welcomed into my home for many years via her self titled show,” posted a mourner there. “I can't tell you how many times I was late for work watching and it was so good I couldn't pull myself away to be on time. She was a great tv personality and taught me so much. Thank you Carol-Jean Duvall for the craftiness you shared.”
Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds at [email protected].