Sam Rubin, Famed Entertainment Reporter, Dies Suddenly Following Broadcast

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Entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, a fixture on KTLA for over three decades, died Friday at 64, the TV station reported.

Citing sources close to the station, Variety reported that Rubin died at his home of a heart attack after doing his regular Hollywood news segments on KTLA’s “Morning News” program Friday.

“KTLA 5 is profoundly saddened to report the death of Sam Rubin. Sam was a giant in the local news industry and the entertainment world, and a fixture of Los Angeles morning television for decades. His laugh, charm and caring personality touched all who knew him. Sam was a loving husband and father: the roles he cherished the most. Our thoughts are with Sam’s family during this difficult time,” reads a statement from KTLA.

Rubin joined KTLA in 1991. Over the following three decades, he became the face of entertainment journalism in a city that defines the genre. He was known for his easy-going interview style, which remained consistent whether talking to Hollywood’s biggest veteran stars or little-known up-and-coming performers.

KTLA devoted coverage to remembering Rubin Friday afternoon, where anchor Glen Walker remembered how Rubin took it upon himself to build what he called an “entertainment empire within KTLA.”

“Entertainment is such a big part of our news department. He kind of built that all by himself,” Walker said. “All of Hollywood, they all know him. He was the guy.”

Among those who called in to KTLA’s live coverage was actor Henry Winkler, who said he wanted to share his thoughts about Rubin after learning of his death while at the Pittsburgh airport.

“His warmth — it was like you were the only person he knew in the industry. When you were being interviewed by him there was nobody after you, there was nobody before you,” Winkler said. “It was you in that seat and that’s all that mattered. He made every human being feel so special and then got them to open up like a flower.”

Actor Jerry O’Connell also called in, calling Rubin a “legend.”

“There is an outpouring of emotion in this town right now,” he said. “My first live interview was with Sam Rubin on KTLA … I couldn’t believe how warm and kind he was. I was like, ‘I’m a nothing, what is he doing?’ He treated everyone with the same amount of love, respect, warmth. He was inspiring, the energy he brought every day.”

He earned multiple Emmy awards, a Golden Mike award, a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association, and was named best entertainment reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club, the Wrap reported.

Rubin was also the owner of the SRE Inc. television production company, which according to his KTLA biography, has produced more than 200 hours of broadcast and cable programming, including the talk show “Hollywood Uncensored” and the “Live From” red carpet shows.

He was also known for his charitable efforts, annually promoting the Bay to Bay bike ride from Orange County to San Diego to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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