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Home / Neighborhood / Los Angeles / Veteran KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin dies at 64

Veteran KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin dies at 64

by F Diaz
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Longtime KTLA entertainment reporter and anchor Sam Rubin died Friday at the age of 64.

A visibly emotional Frank Buckley confirmed the news on the air early Friday afternoon.

“Our hearts, as you can imagine, are broken,” Buckley said through tears as he announced the death of his colleague and friend. “Quite simply, Sam was KTLA. From his time on the KTLA5 Morning News to the many awards shows and other shows that he hosted, his laugh, his charm, most caring personality. To all of us he shred his mornings with on television and to those he worked with behind the scenes at KTLA, we will not forget him.”

Pausing to fight back tears, Buckley continued: “The role that he cherished most was husband and father.” Rubin leaves behind his wife Leslie and four children.

“This is the moment when Sam would know exactly what to say,” Buckley said during the special broadcast. “These are the kinds of stories that he excelled in, and say the right things about someone and put someone’s life into perspective. …

“This station is filled with great sadness. A shock to all of us. He was here yesterday with all of us and then called in sick and then we learned the news this afternoon. So we’re not really sure what the circumstances are. … That’s what we know at this point, is that Sammy is gone.”

TMZ reported that Rubin suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Brentwood Friday morning.

KTLA reporter/anchor Eric Spillman, who like Rubin has been at the station since 1991, joined Buckley during the broadcast to speak of their friendship.

During the broadcast, Henry Winkler, Danny Trejo, Jerry O’Connell, Ellen K, former anchors and many other celebrities called in to pay tribute to Rubin. Former KTLA anchor Michaela Pereira called for Rubin to be awarded a star on the Walk of Fame posthumously for his work in the entertainment industry.

“He made you feel special every single time, and I am not the only person who felt that warmth,” shared Winkler about interviews with Rubin. “When you were being interviewed by him there was nobody after you, there was nobody before you in that desk. It was you in that seat, and that was all that mattered.”

Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph from the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary” said during the KTLA broadcast, “I know that Sam is smiling down saying, ‘I enjoyed every entertaining moment.’ He will be missed.”

Rubin, an Occidental College graduate, won numerous Emmy Awards, a Golden Mike and a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association. He was also a founding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

“The Critics Choice Association is devastated by the sudden loss of our dear friend Sam Rubin, a longtime member of our Board of Directors and a guiding force throughout our 30-year history,” the Critics Choice Awards said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. “Sam’s generous spirit, unfailing good humor and deep knowledge of ‘Hollywood’ made him a legend in the entertainment business and a trusted friend to millions of viewers – and to hundreds of stars who relaxed in easy conversation with him on his set at KTLA and on countless Red Carpets.”

Rubin was also a driving force behind organizing the station’s Bay to Bay bike ride to raise funds for multiple sclerosis research.

The Los Angeles Press Club said in a statement that the “Los Angeles journalism community has lost one of its shining stars. Entertainment reporting will not be the same without his distinctive voice.”

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