Beloved KTLA Entertainment Reporter Sam Rubin Passes Away at the Age of 64

"He made everyone feel comfortable, and it was always fun and easy. He was an institution. We have lost him way too soon."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 10 2024, Published 6:34 p.m. ET

Sam Rubin in Park City, Utah
Source: Getty Images

Sam Rubin

Local news has become a strange landscape, and for an entire generation, it's a foreign concept altogether. Like morning show DJs on a terrestrial radio station, it straddles a time before and after the invention of the internet. Many may ask themselves how such a thing still exists, but it's important to respect what came before. And while it's great to have all the world's knowledge at your fingertips, never forget what it means to stay local.

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Since 1991, Sam Rubin was a mainstay at KTLA in Los Angeles. If I may personalize this for a moment, he was someone I looked forward to watching when I lived in Hollywood during the early 2000s. A person can't come into your home by way of a television screen for nearly 35 years without becoming a part of your life. His passing is significant and his talent will be missed. Here's what we know about his life and cause of death.

Host Sam Rubin and actor John Goodman attend the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at Barker Hangar on Jan. 10, 2013
Source: Getty Images

Sam Rubin (L) and John Goodman (R) at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards in 2013

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What was Sam Rubin's cause of death?

Variety reported that a source close to KTLA told the outlet that Sam died of a heart attack Friday, May 10, 2024, shortly after his "regular Hollywood news segments on KTLA’s 7–9 a.m. 'Morning News' program." He was at home when the incident occurred.

Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, said in a statement, "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."

The news station took to X (formerly Twitter) to share their condolences about the popular reporter's passing. "KTLA 5 is profoundly saddened to report the death of Sam Rubin," they wrote. "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."

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In June 2021, KTLA celebrated its 30th anniversary with a look back at some of Sam's finest moments. He was referred to as the Godfather of Entertainment, and because he worked in Hollywood, every star spoke to Sam. In the video, we immediately see Sam with Tom Hanks, Destiny's Child, and Sting, who says to him, "I live in this moment right now with you, Sam," which is such a Sting thing to say. Every person wields a huge smile and it's clear they are genuinely excited to speak with him. That makes sense because as Sam said, "I kind of always wanted to do this."

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In the video, his co-workers are equally as effusive about their time with him; every person who worked with Sam says the same thing: He is the best in the business.

That is echoed by the flood of heartfelt praises and grief-stricken posts that filled social media after news of his passing broke. Ben Stiller called him a consummate pro and added, "He made everyone feel comfortable, and it was always fun and easy. He was an institution. We have lost him way too soon."

Director Paul Feig said he was "devastated by this news. I truly loved Sam, who was so supportive of me and the industry in general. He was the best. I can’t quite process him being gone. Sending so much love to his family and friends."

Plugging his name into the X search bar yields countless similar results. Entertainment reporting is so much more than coming prepared. Sam made everyone feel at ease. There will simply never be another one like him.

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