Sam Rubin’s talent was simply ‘brighter’

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Talent.

I have been using that word a lot lately when talking about my friend Sam Rubin. I live in a town full of talented people. I work at a TV station with talented journalists. But there was one man who had talent that was brighter and, quite frankly, just better than the rest of us.

I knew Sam for 25 years. Worked with him for nearly 20.  In that time, I watched him produce more hours of television than any other person in Hollywood. 5 hours a morning. 5 days a week (and that was all before 10:30 a.m.). In the afternoons, he would be a correspondent for news outlets around the world, run his own production company and make countless public appearances. He would travel the globe for movie junkets, concerts, and premiers. In between it all, he’d somehow find the time to write columns, essays, and social posts that would remind us that this “TV guy” was one of the best print journalists in the business.

Sam Rubin: 1960-2024

It has often been said that nothing in production works faster than television news—and while we may be quick—Sam was lightning.  His two-finger typing was a super-sonic symphony of words, wit, and Hollywood wisdom. On the occasion when he was caught without a carefully worded script… well, that’s when he really shined.

You knew when the prompter said (((SAM AD LIB))) some sharp turn of a phrase would magically appear out of thin air in the nick-of-time for on-air.

The guy also really knew how to tease. I’m referring to the quick couple of lines we come up with to keep you watching past the commercial break. It’s the “stay tuned” part of our business. 

Often (and Sam would admit this) his teases were more interesting than the actual story – just another example of how he was constantly tuned in to what made our morning show work. In fact, I think Sam understood the KTLA Morning News better than anyone.  He knew how to stay in the moment, commit to the bit and could have conducted a master class on how to make something out of nothing.

And let’s not forget about those thousands upon thousands of interviews he did. Sam could quickly craft a question that would elicit the most introspective answers from A-listers. For newcomers, he had an ease about him that would instantly offer reassurance. But my favorite piece of his Hollywood magic was the way he could go through an entire interview asking celebrities about everything else in their life EXCEPT the project they were there to promote. 

It’s as if he knew that by lifting the curtain and giving us a real glimpse into their lives, we would be more likely to go to their movie or sing their song. And he was right. I think that’s why celebrities loved Sam. I know it’s one of the reasons we loved him.

My friend Sam had a beautiful mind. His father was a brilliant mathematician, and as I reflect upon Sam’s life, it seems to all add up.

Sam was an absolute value to our TV station. He brought positivity into our world each and every morning. In a town full of abstract ideas, Sam found the formula to make entertainment news truly entertaining. He cracked the code to get past the publicists and production companies to find what was at the heart of these projects, and more importantly, what was ‘in’ the heart of the people who starred in them.

What we had never counted on was that Sam’s boundless energy would be finite. Sam was never going to retire. He was never going to leave us for his “next” chapter. There is no business like show business, and Sam didn’t just have a front row seat, he was a part of the ensemble act.

So, when the curtain suddenly fell on Friday, none of us were prepared for the ending.

As we sat on set, talking about Sam as clips of past segments rolled by us on loop, I found myself slipping in and out of a state of disbelief. There were moments when a clip would pop up and it would feel like Sam was very much still alive and with us, and then, in the corner of my eye, I would see this big monitor wall, with his picture slightly colorized to a monochromatic tone, and near his name, the year of his birth with a hyphen next to the year of his death.

I hate that hyphen because I loved that man.

And while we begin to slowly come to terms with this Hollywood story that doesn’t have a happy ending, I want the world to know that the role of Sam Rubin cannot be re-cast, because no one else could play the part like he did.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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