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KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin dies at 64

The cause of death was a heart attack, TMZ reports.

The cause of death was a heart attack, TMZ reports.

Sam Rubin, a veteran entertainment reporter who spent the bulk of his career with KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, died Friday morning from a heart attack at the age of 64.

His death was first reported in a news story aired by KTLA (Channel 5, CW) early Friday afternoon. The television station said the circumstances surrounding his death were not immediately known. Entertainment publication TMZ later revealed it to be a heart attack.

“The Sam that you saw on the air is the Sam that was off the air,” Rubin’s colleague Frank Buckley said on television. “To all of us he shared his mornings with on television, and to those he worked with behind the scenes at KTLA, we will not forget him.”

Rubin started at KTLA in 1991, serving as the lead entertainment correspondent for the KTLA Morning News. He was well-connected in Hollywood, scoring must-have interviews with A-list celebrities from the worlds of film, television, music and art.

A highly-accomplished correspondent, Rubin received multiple local Emmy nominations and wins, a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association and a Golden Mike award, among other honors.

In addition to his work at KTLA, Rubin also worked as an on-air host for the Reelz Channel and served as the entertainment correspondent for Nine Network in Australia and “This Morning” on Britain’s ITV. On Friday, a spokesperson for ITV said the broadcast network will honor Rubin on Monday’s episode of This Morning.

“He woke up Tinseltown every day for decades with his likeable charm and knowledgeable take on the movie world, he was on first name terms with the stars and became affectionately known as Hollywood Sam,” ITV said in a social media post. “We will miss him.”

Throughout much of Rubin’s career, KTLA was owned by Tribune Media. In 2019, the station was acquired by Nexstar Media Group through its purchase of Tribune Media.

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

While Rubin’s entertainment reports drove smiles and laughs to the KTLA Morning News, the station and the company occasionally put him in a tough spot. Two years ago, Rubin was one element of a larger story involving former KTLA Morning Show host Lynette Romero, who left the station for KNBC (Channel 4) after her contract with Nexstar expired.

Rubin broke the news of Romero’s departure by reading a short statement during the KTLA Morning News. The method by which the station informed viewers about Romero’s departure was a break from convention; typically, long-time hosts like Romero are allowed to announce their own leave and say goodbye to the audience. Weekend co-anchor Mark Mester was fired by the station after criticizing KTLA management for making Rubin read the statement about Romero’s exit.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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