David Horowitz (consumer advocate)

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David Horowitz
David Charles Horowitz[1]

(1937-06-30)June 30, 1937
DiedFebruary 14, 2019(2019-02-14) (aged 81)
OccupationConsumer advocate
Spouse(s)Judith Rosenthal (m. 1964; div. 1969) Suzanne McCambridge (1973–2019, his death)

David Charles Horowitz (June 30, 1937 – February 14, 2019) was an American consumer reporter and journalist for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, whose Emmy-winning TV program Fight Back! would warn viewers about defective products, test advertised claims to see if they were true, and confront corporations about customer complaints.[2] He has been on the boards of directors of the National Broadcast Editorial Conference, City of Hope, and the American Cancer Society.[3] He has been on the FCC advisory board and advisory board for the Los Angeles District Attorney.

Horowitz has been described as a consumer advocate; he personally shunned the description, noting that he always tried to maintain an objective point of view toward both the consumer and the businesses he profiled.[4]

Early life[edit]

David Horowitz attended Bradley University, where he became a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi,[5] and graduated with high honors in 1959.[6] Horowitz earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1961,[7] then worked at newspapers and TV stations in the Midwest, including KRNT-TV (now KCCI-TV) in Des Moines, Iowa.[1][4] He was a writer for The Huntley–Brinkley Report. He opened the first news bureau for NBC News during the Vietnam War. Horowitz was then offered a chance to develop a consumer-awareness segment for NBC's Los Angeles newscast, but nearly turned it down because they had offered it to six other people before him.[8]


Horowitz made a guest appearance on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in 1989. He also appeared as himself on an episode of Silver Spoons, ALF, the Golden Girls, The Munsters Today, and Saved by the Bell. Horowitz was also a regular guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (which also occasionally parodied him as "David Howitzer").

Hostage situation[edit]

On August 19, 1987, during KNBC's 4 p.m. newscast, a gun-wielding man named Gary Stollman got into NBC's Burbank Studios as a guest of an employee, and took Horowitz hostage live on the air. With the gun pressed on his side, Horowitz calmly read the gunman's statements on camera; unbeknownst to the gunman, the news feed had been taken off the air. The unidentified man revealed at the end of his statement that the gun was an empty BB gun, and set the gun down on the newsdesk, at which point anchorman John Beard quickly confiscated it. The incident led Horowitz to start a campaign to ban realistic toy guns.[9]


In 1998, Horowitz joined a political campaign to urge voters to defeat a California ballot initiative calling for a 20% cut in electricity rates for private utility customers and ending surcharges on ratepayers to pay for nuclear power plants. Horowitz later admitted he was paid $106,000 by the campaign.[10] Horowitz approached the organizers of the campaign and asked to be a part of it.


"Stay aware and informed, Fight Back, and don't let anyone rip you off!"[11]


Horowitz died Thursday, February 14, 2019 from complications due to dementia. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and two grandchildren.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b "Eight newsmen receive CBS Foundation fellowships" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 16, 1962. p. 78.
  2. ^ Ahmed, Shahan. "David Horowitz, Legendary Consumer Journalist, Dies at 81". NBC Southern California.
  3. ^ "David Horowitz". IMDb.
  4. ^ a b McDougal, Dennis (June 5, 1988). "David Horowitz: The Consummate Consumerist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Notable Alumni". Alpha Epsilon Pi. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Helping consumers, helping Bradley". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  7. ^ Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill ) (February 19, 1961). "Annual commencement / Northwestern University". Evanston, Ill. : The University – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ Benet, Lorenzo (1987-02-19). "Life is One Long Mass of Fine Print for Consumer Advocate Horowitz". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
  9. ^ Carter, Gregg Lee (2012). "Toy Guns". Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law, Volume 3 (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 832. ISBN 978-0-313-38670-1.
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1998-10-28). "The High Price of Advocacy". latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
  11. ^ "Fight Back! With David Horowitz – April 1980 (Closing)". May 18, 2011 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ KNBC: "David Horowitz, Legendary Consumer Journalist, Dies at 81". Published February 18, 2019; retrieved February 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Hollywood Reporter February 19, 2019: "David Horowitz, TV's 'Fight Back!' Consumer Advocate, Dies at 81"; retrieved February 20, 2019.

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