Sam Bensussen

Bensussen, Sam
1922 - 2012
Sam Bensussen (Sam Benson) Veteran radio and television broadcaster Sam Benson passed away on November 12, 2012 with his family at his side. Sam was 90 years young - still reading the news, cheering on the Trojans and keeping in touch with friends. Sam was one of the early faces of live television and one of the industry's first live "pitchmen." In the 1950's and 60's, he was seen almost daily by thousands of Angelenos. He began his career in radio with Earl C. Anthony in San Luis Obispo and spent over 40 years with KLAC radio and Metromedia. Prior to retirement, he was Editorial Director for KTTV. He received numerous industry awards but felt more at ease congratulating others. He was a versatile man who never met a task that he didn't enjoy. Sam could do it all, from writing jingles and slogans for commercials, to interviewing authors and celebrities, doing live traffic reports, to announcing the winners at the LA County Fair. His many years as Director of Public Affairs and Public Service for KLAC gave him entre to the community and citizens he loved. Sam was born on February 1, 1922 in Los Angeles to Nisso and Anna Bensussen, Turkish immigrants. He grew up near the Coliseum and USC, graduating from Freemont High in 1940. He cherished his years at Freemont and helped spearhead his annual class reunions through the 60th and beyond. Sam was proud of his education at Los Angeles City College where his talent for broadcasting was discovered. During WWII, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a control tower operator in South America, helping guide the planes, shuttling from Africa to America. He also met the love of his life, a young Dorothy Kearney from Connecticut, who was in the Women's Air Corps. They married on November 1, 1944 in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Sam and Dorothy had one son, Gale Kearney Bensussen, and settled in Sherman Oaks, CA where they would stay throughout their lives. Our dad was committed to making the community a better place and dedicated himself to organizations that made a difference. He could be found working at the voting polls, doing volunteer public relations for the LA County Fair, benefits and car rallies or contributing his time and talents for good causes - 1984 Olympic Organizing Committee, City of Hope, United Jewish Fund, Kidney Foundation. He made many friends as a devoted volunteer at the Getty Museum. Golf was a lifelong passion and he belonged to the Sepulveda Men's Golf Club for over twenty years, serving on the Board and as President. Most importantly, he kept his friends for life and they will all miss his cheery calls, his skill on the Scrabble board and his email dissection of the news. Sam leaves behind his son Gale, daughter-in-law Jane, grandson Lane, granddaughter Adrienne and brother Louis. Dottie, his wife of 61 years, preceded him in death in 2005. His sister, Susie Rollins, also predeceased him but her children Jim, Nancy, David and their families survive. Dad wanted us to especially thank Eva Albala for her wonderful care and companionship for the past nine years.
A celebration of Sam's life will be held on Sunday, November 18th at 2:00 pm. For more information, please contact Donations in Sam's name may be made to the Bensussen Research Laboratory, USC School of Pharmacy, 1985 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 14, 2012