Sam Rubin, Longtime KTLA Entertainment Reporter, Dies at 64

Sam Rubin, a popular entertainment reporter on KTLA since 1991, died Friday. He was 64.

Rubin died at his home of a heart attack. His last appearance on KTLA was on May 9. He did not appear Friday on KTLA’s 7-9 a.m. “Morning News” as usual. KTLA reported that Rubin’s colleagues said he “showed no outward signs of illness” the day before.

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Rubin was a fixture in Hollywood who enjoyed rare longevity with a single station throughout his career. On camera, Rubin was unfailingly jocular and warm, often talking about his off-air activities with his wife and four children. Chatting with Rubin live on KTLA has long been a staple of any publicity tour for stars of movies, TV shows, concert tours and anything else involving entertainment.

Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, called the anchor “an icon” for the region and the industry.

“Sam was an icon in Los Angeles and the entertainment industry and he was a beloved member of our Nexstar Nation. My prayers are with his family and the KTLA family as we mourn his passing. He will be missed,” Sook said in a statement.

KTLA, one of the nation’s pioneering TV stations and the first commercial outlet to hit the airwaves on the West Coast in 1948, praised the journalist who became synonymous with the station. KTLA news anchor Frank Buckley was visibly choked up as he reported Rubin’s death on-air Friday afternoon.

“Sam was a giant in the local news industry and the entertainment world, and a fixture of Los Angeles morning television for decades,” KTLA said in an X post. “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.”

As an anchor and reporter in Hollywood’s backyard, Rubin also covered the inner workings of Hollywood, usually offering a fan’s “gee whiz” perspective on the machinations of studios and networks and the excesses of the rich and famous.

“Everyone is going to feel like they lost a family friend,” publicist Jamie Gruttemeyer Symonds told Variety in response to the news of Rubin’s death.

Actor Yvette Nicole Brown echoed that sentiment in an X post, calling Rubin “a friend” and noting “I enjoyed all the times I got to visit him at KTLA.”

The news of Rubin’s death hit Hollywood hard with an outpouring of sadness and tributes from actors on both coasts. Dave Foley, Kiefer Sutherland, Marlee Matlin, Jerry O’Connell, Paul Feig, Ben Stiller, Greg Grunberg and more shared their memories and continued to praise Rubin’s kindness in the business.

In addition to his work as an anchor, Rubin’s television production company SRE, Inc. has produced more than 200 hours of broadcast and cable programming including “Live From” red carpet shows and 120 episodes of talk show “Hollywood Uncensored.”

Rubin was a co-founder of the Critics Choice Association. The organization paid tribute to him, calling him a “guiding force” for the organization that bestows awards for movies and TV shows.

“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,” Critics Choice said.

In 1996, Rubin teamed with his crosstown rival, KTTV entertainment reporter Dorothy Lucey, as hosts of the daytime syndicated talk show “Scoop with Sam & Dorothy,” which ran for a few months.

Rubin was the recipient of a Golden Mic award, a lifetime achievement award from Southern California Broadcasters Association and winner of best entertainment reporter from the Los Angeles Press Club. He penned two celebrity biographies over his long career, one about Jacqueline Kennedy Onnassis and a 1990 book about Mia Farrow co-authored with Richard Taylor.

Early in his career, Rubin covered entertainment news for Group W Television and he was a correspondent for the 1980s New York-area cable channel Movietime.

According to his KTLA bio, he supported several organizations including the MS 150 Bay to Bike Tour and supports L.A. schools and literacy programs.

A 1982 graduate of Occidental College, he is survived by his wife, Leslie, and four children.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Rubin had been on the air Friday on “KTLA Morning News.”

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