On the evening of March 5, 2006 Sam Chu Lin collapsed after landing at the Burbank Airport and did not recover. Cause of death is pending an autopsy. Sam was one of the first and most well-known broadcast journalists of Chinese heritage. His tenure at CBS was successful and long (including a stint as anchor and reporter for KOOL-TV in Phoenix), and blazed a path for many Asian-Americans who succeeded him. Never stopping and always inquisitive, he was a valuable resource for many organizations. A great friend of the Asian-American community, Sam will be sorely missed and sympathy is expressed to his mother, brother Paul, wife Judy, and their two sons. (Additional coverage of Sam’s life at websites of Fox 11 Los Angeles and San Jose Mercury News.)
According to Barry Wong, chair of the Save SunMerc Coalition, Sam was a friend and advocate of the effort to preserve Sun Merc and establish an Asian-American museum. During the last several weeks Sam spent many hours researching and learning about the Coalition’s efforts for a story he wrote and was published in several national Asian print and electronic media. Barry knew Sam for a number of years, but it was through many phone conversations these past several weeks did Barry get to know Sam better, personally and professionally. Sam was truly dedicated to the Asian-American community, was a caring person, and a first class journalist. Through his Sun Merc reporting he wanted to help the Sun Merc cause, but was careful not to appear biased, especially as an Asian-American journalist. While he went through great lengths to write a balanced story, he was hopeful a positive outcome would occur in small part because of the information he conveyed. Sam told Barry that he wanted to be present at the museum’s official opening.