KTLA Entertainment Reporter’s Cause of Death Revealed

UPDATED with official cause of death: In a report obtained by KTLA, the Los Angeles coroner said the station’s former entertainment reporter, Sam Rubin, suffered from “ischemic heart disease secondary to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.” His cause of death was described as “natural.”

According to the station, Rubin, 64, was experiencing stomach pains on the morning of May 10 and went to the hospital. The journalist was pronounced dead in the emergency room just after 11 a.m.

EARLIER on May 10: Sam Rubin, a fixture on Los Angeles TV news as an entertainment reporter for KTLA and a regular red carpet interviewer, died today, the station announced. He was 64.

Rubin’s family confirmed that he died of a heart attack, KTLA reported. He was last on the air Thursday morning and showed no outward signs of illness, his colleagues said. He had called in sick on Friday.

Rubin’s KTLA colleagues remembered him with tears and anecdotes on the radio this afternoon. “We don’t know what happened, but it was sudden,” said Frank Buckley, the regular morning anchor. Another regular, Eric Spillman, called to say, “I can’t believe we’re reporting this — it’s such a shock.”

“KTLA 5 is deeply saddened to report the passing of Sam Rubin,” the station said posted on social media. “Sam was a giant in the local news and entertainment industry, and a fixture on Los Angeles morning television for decades. His smile, charm and caring personality touched all who knew him. Sam was a loving husband and father — the roles he cherished most. Our thoughts are with Sam’s family during this difficult time.”

Among the visitors was Henry Winkler, one of Rubin’s favorite guests.

“It’s the most horrible thing,” Winkler said by phone from an airport. “I know two things: He made you feel special every time [he interviewed you]and I’m not the only one who felt that special warmth.”

The station also aired a minute-long segment from the 2020 SAG Awards red carpet today, in which none other than Tom Hanks stopped to chat with Rubin, turning the tables and extolling the virtues of KTLA, Rubin and “Sky Chopper 5.”

Rubin joined KTLA Morning News in 1991, about six months after the program debuted. He won multiple News Emmys and Golden Mike Awards and received a lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association. He was also named Best Entertainment Reporter by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Rubin was also a long-time regular presenter on KNX-AM in Los Angeles, where he provided short showbiz news reports and was a regular on BBC TV and radio in the UK. He also did radio and TV reporting in Australia.

Rubin is a founding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest organization of film and television critics in the United States with over 200 members. In 1996, the BFCA started the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and he hosted the 2013 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards.

In 2021, Rubin ran to represent broadcasters on SAG-AFTRA’s LA Board of Directors as part of the MembershipFirst party alongside Matthew Modine and Joely Fisher. One of his biggest concerns was the change in eligibility requirements for the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan.

After hearing the news, Fisher wrote on Twitter today, “This is a shocking loss!!!” #REST IN PEACE to my friend of so many years.”

He was also the owner of SRE, Inc., a television production company that produced over 200 hours of broadcast and cable programming, including several Live from red carpet shows and 120 episodes of the talk show Hollywood Uncensored starring Sam Rubin that ran on Reelz.

Rubin has written two books and his work has been published worldwide both in print and online. Sam appears regularly on BBC television and radio in the UK and is a regular contributor to Triple M radio and the Channel 9 television network in Australia.

His charitable efforts include promoting the annual Bay to Bay bike ride from Orange County to San Diego to raise money for multiple sclerosis research.

The victim is survived by his wife Leslie and their four children.


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