Sam Bushman
at a Broadcast Pioneers luncheon
The Bala Golf Club, Philadelphia
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Bushman was born on Monday, July 20, 1914 in Norristown, Pennsylvania and moved to the Strawberry Mansion section of the city when he was 12. Sam once told us that he wasn't a PR (Public Relations) person at all. "I'm a publicity guy, pure and simple. That's what I do."

In school, he was the editor for "The Megaphone," the Northeast High paper. He was graduated from that school in 1931 and went to New York City to find work. It was at the worse point of the depression. By 1935, he was back home where he rented office space at 1211 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia and started doing publicity, mostly for nightclubs and supper places.

Sometimes called "Bushie," he wore a dark suit with a tie and hat, especially in his earlier days. Sam never did learn to drive, and in his younger days dated girls with cars. During the Second World War, Sam Bushman was drafted and ran a center for an armed forces base in Oklahoma City and wrote their paper "Stars and Stripes." After the war, he returned to Philly and married Ruth Freund. In 1947, their daughter Esther was born. Sam and Ruth divorced in 1952. Until 1991, Bushman remained single when he married Brenda Grapin Freedman.

Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky said: "Unlike some of the modern breed of publicist, Sam always wanted to remain in the background so the spotlight would fall on his client rather than himself." This was true said Broadcast Pioneers' Vice-President Gerry Wilkinson who takes many of our photos at our various functions. "Sam would never let me take his photograph. Only person at any of our events to ever refuse."

Bykofsky also said: "He knew the individual needs of the reporters, editors and columnists he worked with. He knew how to play the angles and was the last in the line of dinosaurs. I say that with respect."

In 1995, Sam was stricken with throat cancer. He gave up smoking cigars and drinking, two of his favorite habits. The cancer recently returned.

Broadcast Pioneers board member Kal Rudman, publisher of the Friday Morning Quarterback was a lifelong friend and client of Sam Bushman. "He was brilliant. He had a photographic memory," said Kal. "He was the Walter Winchell of Philadelphia."

Broadcast Pioneers member Frank Ford, the husband of Philadelphia's District Attorney Lynne Abraham, stated: "He knew more about Philadelphia nightlife than anybody. Mention a denizen of the night, and Sam knew him. He had a better memory than anybody I ever knew."

Sam passed away Sunday, September 25, 2005 from throat cancer. He was 91 years old and worked as a publicist for 70 years.

On Friday, November 16, 2007, Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Bushman was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2005, All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is