Our PGA family lost one of its most treasured voices over the past weekend. Stanley Rubin, age 96, passed away at his home, leaving behind an unmatched legacy of creative work and Guild service.
For how many years was Stanley a member of our Guild? The answer is simple: All of them. One of a handful of founding members of the Screen Producers Guild in 1950, he lived to see the ranks of the Producers Guild swell to more than 20 times its original numbers—in great part due to the inspirational leadership he himself provided as a PGA President, Vice President, Secretary, Board member and trusted councilor.
Under Stanley’s presidency (1975 – 1979), the PGA signed its collective bargaining contract with Paramount and Universal—the last collective bargaining agreement (to date) the Guild would negotiate. Stanley’s clear-eyed wisdom helped the Guild through not one but two mergers, bringing together the Screen Producers Guild and the Television Producers Guild—to form the Producers Guild of America—in 1967, and then, 34 years later, serving on the Merger Committee that joined the PGA to the American Association of Producers (AAP). For over half a century, Stanley was the living embodiment of our Guild’s history, and his loss is a terrible blow not only to the countless friends and colleagues who relied on his wit, insight and passion, but to our collective heritage as an organization.
Stanley can claim a place not only at our Guild’s earliest origin, but at the inception of one of the industry’s most cherished honors—the Emmy Awards. In 1949, Stanley made television history as the producer of the first Emmy-winning film made for television, “The Necklace,” part of his anthology series Your Show Time. Stanley was kind enough to share his experiences creating that piece of television history in a feature for Produced By magazine in 2006.
His career—in classic producer fashion—tacked from television to film and back again, providing him opportunities to collaborate with everyone from Otto Preminger and Mel Blanc to Clint Eastwood and Tony Scott. An accomplished writer as well as producer, he rose to a leadership position within the WGA as well as the Producers Guild, providing for essential inter-guild communication and collaboration.
But it’s Stanley’s singular record of PGA service that makes him unique in the history of our Guild. Stanley was only the second member in the Guild’s history to receive the Charles FitzSimons Award for outstanding service—second only to Charles FitzSimons himself. And how many individuals could boast to have served as a PGA Board member with both Frank Sinatra and Gale Anne Hurd? Just one.
In his speech to the Guild at the close of his presidency in 1979, Stanley said, “I think the single most important thing I can pass on to the members of this Guild is that there is a hidden strength in the PGA that has kept it alive in spite of everything… To be honest, the Board of Directors has said many times over the past three or four years, ‘We’d better make a breakthrough this year, or by next year, there won’t be a Guild!’ Well, we were wrong. There still is a Guild. And there can be only one reason for that—and it’s the hidden strength I mentioned—the fact that there is a genuine need for a PGA.”
More than ever, there is a genuine need for a PGA. But in order to become what it is today, the PGA needed Stanley Rubin. And for more than six decades, every time we needed him, he was there for us.
Godspeed, Stanley. We miss you already.
- The Producers Guild