A Local Love Story

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Howard Ferguson and Candace Bowen met more than 33 years ago in Malibu while Ferguson was on a paparazzi mission.

Malibu couple Candace Bowen and Howard “Hub” Ferguson have been fixtures in the local community for decades: Bowen, an actress and producer, is active in the Women in Film organization as senior vice president and membership consultant. 

Ferguson, with his local Hub the Handyman business, is also an actor. His latest stints included the lead role in the Malibu Playhouse 2012 production of “The Oldest Living Graduate.” 

But not everyone knows how these two came to be a couple.

One day in 1981, Bowen finished teaching an aerobics class at the Nautilus Gym in Malibu, located where Johnnie’s NY Pizzeria once was, and walked out to her car — a Corvette with the personalized license plate “MS BOWEN.” 

The car, the plates and the lady got the undivided attention of two guys sitting in a parked car next to hers, and they struck up a conversation. One of them, Ferguson, was in town from Canada visiting his buddy Phil, a paparazzo. They’d been sitting for hours across from actor Burt Reynold’s house, waiting for the garage door to open, hoping to get a money shot of him and his new girlfriend, actress Lonnie Anderson. 

The friend had a bright idea — he convinced Bowen and Ferguson to go to the Carbon Beach side of Reynolds’s house with him and pretend they were doing a photo shoot — hoping to get his money shot of Reynolds that way. Although Bowen didn’t take to Phil, she did like Ferguson, so she agreed to participate in the scheme. 

Burt and Lonnie never appeared, but the “photo shoot” netted hundreds of real photos, and lasted long enough for Bowen and Ferguson to be smitten. 

Unfortunately, Ferguson had to return to his job helping Eskimos in Canada (another story), so they kept in touch through letter-writing and his occasional visits back to California. 

“On our first date, we went on a half-day fishing trip,” Bowen said. “I caught all the fish and he got seasick.” 

She said they first became best friends, and then “fell in love by accident.” He finally decided to move to Malibu to be with her, and they married two years later. 

It was the second marriage for each — Bowen already had one daughter and Ferguson had four. Today, they also have 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren between them. 

Bowen said she and Ferguson “never had an argument. We’re soulmates, and that’s it. It’s easy. We have so much in common and our values are the same.” 

“Don’t look for love — it finds you,” Bowen said. “It will pull at your heartstring.” 

“We’re still the best of friends,” Ferguson said. “Everybody needs someone to watch their back.” 

Neither has any intention of retiring. 

“I’m the oldest living handyman,” Ferguson laughed. “I have lots of customers that depend on me. I’m a hero to the mechanically disadvantaged.” 

Malibu is given a lot of credit for making their marriage even better — “Malibu mellows us both out,” Ferguson said.