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Sam Rubin: Sam Rubin Saved Lives | Appreciation...

Sam Rubin: Remembering Sam Rubin- KTLA’s Gentleman on the Red Ca...
Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 17:19:29 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 17:19:29

It was soon thereafter that The Motion Picture Home, a retirement community that featured a state-of-the-art hospital, managed and assisted care bungalows, a long term care center for the most elderly, and the fabled “Harry’s Haven” – named after Kirk Douglas’ father and a testament to the Douglas family’s care and concern for Alzheimer’s patients — was on the chopping block. The hospital’s ICU was shuttered, and family members of long term care patients were notified to look for other digs for our parents, wives and husbands who were in the sterling care of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. We were told that there was no money left to fund long term care. We knew otherwise. So did Sam. Sam Rubin


I was embarrassed for Sam. I remember asking him, “How do you put up with this? What are we going to do this?” Sam smiled at me, leaned back in his chair at a long table shared by crew, writers and producers at KTLA, and said “Punch up, not down.”

Wow. Just freaking wow. That was powerful. He then cocked his head, motioning to me that our meeting was over, and I walked out forever changed.

It was soon thereafter that The Motion Picture Home, a retirement community that featured a state-of-the-art hospital, managed and assisted care bungalows, a long term care center for the most elderly, and the fabled “Harry’s Haven” – named after Kirk Douglas’ father and a testament to the Douglas family’s care and concern for Alzheimer’s patients — was on the chopping block. The hospital’s ICU was shuttered, and family members of long term care patients were notified to look for other digs for our parents, wives and husbands who were in the sterling care of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. We were told that there was no money left to fund long term care. We knew otherwise. So did Sam.

The families rallied and I cut my teeth as an activist by taking to a new entertainment news platform called TheWrap to lob verbal bombs at the studio bigwigs who were playing hide the salami with the truth.  I looked for Sam’s number and called him.  I gave him the elevator pitch on what was going on.  His response was “how can I help?”

Wow, how he helped. These were in the days when Michaela Pereira was co-anchor with Carlos Amezcua. KTLA Morning News was hot and had huge viewership numbers (as it still does now). I heard that the ex-CEO of the Motion Picture Home did a classic spit take when he watched KTLA reporting our story. Phone lines between DreamWorks, Paramount and Sony (where the deniers of care held forth) heated up. I mean, everyone watched KTLA.

Sam took the elderly residents under his wing, so to speak. He was very fond of past Screen Actors Guild vice president and actress Anne-Marie Johnson.  Anne-Marie was a firebrand who commanded a loyal following in the Screen Actors Guild. The morning that he invited her and actor Scott Bakula to report on the dire situation, there resulted a shift in the public’s perception of what this impending closure of motion picture industry long term care meant: If it can happen to them, it can happen to us.

Punch up, not down.

Sam gave those of us fighting for the care of The Motion Picture Home residents something valuable: legitimacy. We soon attracted the support of SAG-AFTRA under the leadership of Ken Howard. That would not have happened had we not gotten major attention. When you were on Sam’s news, that was “major attention.”

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