April 14, 2024

News Release: January 31, 2003

Aaron Ruben to Receive Valentine Davies Award from Writers Guild of America, west

2003 Award Recipient

Veteran comedy writer Aaron Ruben, who started his career in the 1940s writing for George Burns and Gracie Allen on radio, will receive this year's Valentine Davies Award, given every year for public service.

"Aaron Ruben's lifetime of good work reflects well on writers everywhere," said WGAw President Victoria Riskin. "He has dedicated his life to helping children, which reaffirms my hope that our lives can be spent as usefully. His selflessness is inspiring."

"I was completely surprised and also moved," said Ruben after hearing the news. "I am grateful for the opportunity to spread the word about the ugly, painful subject of child abuse, which, unfortunately, so many people are unaware of. Thank you."

Born in 1914, Ruben started his writing career in radio, working for Burns and Allen, Fred Allen and Milton Berle, among others. In the early 1950s, he switched over to the new medium of television, working on comedy and variety shows for Berle, Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas, Eddie Cantor and others. He became a producer on The Andy Griffith Show and a creator and executive producer of the mid-'60s hit Gomer Pyle, USMC. In the 1980s, he executive produced Too Close for Comfort among others. In the '90s, he became a creative consultant on Matlock.

Since his retirement, Ruben has advocated on behalf of children. For 15 years, he has been a court-appointed special advocate, representing abused and abandoned children in juvenile court. His most memorable and meaningful case involved an 11-year-old girl who was orphaned after the murder-suicide of her parents. Ruben helped her through college, where she eventually earned her bachelor's and master's degrees. She is now a therapist helping other children through childhood traumas.

In 1999, he was named volunteer of the year by the Los Angeles Child Advocate Office. The same year, he established the Aaron Ruben Scholarship Fund, a college scholarship presented every June to one high school graduate who has been in the foster care system. In addition, he volunteers for the Hospice Program at Cedars Sinai Hospital.