'60s radical Jerry Rubin dead at 56

November 30, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Rubin, the anti-war radical who once told his peers never to trust anyone over 30, died Monday night of cardiac arrest at UCLA Medical Center. The Brentwood resident was 56.

Mr. Rubin -- an inveterate rule-breaker for most of his well-publicized life -- had been in intensive care since Nov. 14, when he was struck by a car while jaywalking.

"He was a great life force, full of spunk, courage and wit," said California state Sen. Tom Hayden.

"I think his willingness to defy authority for constructive purposes will be missed," Mr. Hayden said. "Up to the end, he was defying authority."

Born July 14, 1938, in Cincinnati to a union organizer and his wife, Mr. Rubin was a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley when the anti-Vietnam War movement carried him to fame.

In the late 1960s, he founded the Youth International Party -- the Yippies -- with the late Abbie Hoffman and Paul Krassner, and honed his reputation as a master of political theater. Once, to protest capitalism, he dumped dollar bills on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange; another time, he campaigned to elect a pig as president of the United States.

His most memorable moment as a radical came in 1968, during anti-war demonstrations outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Black Panther leader Bobby Seale and seven others -- among them Mr. Rubin, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Hayden -- were charged with conspiracy to incite violence and crossing state lines with the intent to riot.

The court proceedings began in September 1969, becoming known as the Chicago Seven trial after federal Judge Julius J. Hoffman severed Mr. Seale's case from the others and ordered him bound and gagged when he protested the crusty jurist's rulings. Mr. Seale eventually was convicted of contempt of court and sentenced to four years in prison.

The trial of the seven -- Mr. Rubin, Mr. Hoffman, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, John Froines, Mr. Hayden and Lee Weiner -- became a dramatic spectacle during which the wild-haired defendants stomped on the judicial robes they elected to wear in the courtroom.

After 4 1/2 months of testimony, all but Mr. Froines and Mr. Weiner were found guilty of the intent-to-riot charges. All were acquitted of the conspiracy charges.

Although Mr. Rubin, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Davis, Mr. Dellinger and Mr. Hayden were sentenced to prison, their convictions -- along with Mr. Seale's -- were overturned by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which cited errors by Judge Hoffman and criticized his courtroom demeanor.

While some of the Chicago Seven remained true to their Yippie roots, Mr. Rubin evolved, discovering est, yoga, bioenergetics and a smorgasbord of self-awareness programs that eventually led him to venture banking on Wall Street. Mr. Rubin was divorced from his wife of 13 years, Mimi Rubin. The couple had two children.

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