David Horowitz, Legendary Consumer Journalist, Dies at 81

Longtime consumer journalist David Horowitz has died at age 81, his wife told NBC4.

Horowitz was best known for his Emmy-winning TV program "Fight Back! With David Horowitz" that investigated defective products, advertised claims and confronted companies with customer complaints. The show debuted on KNBC under the name "California Byline," and Horowitz was a celebrated member of the NBC team for two decades.

"I don't consider myself a consumer advocate," Horowitz told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. "If you're on television you have to really be broadcasting in the public interest... but you also have to be objective.

"Yes, you can do a commentary and advocate certain issues if you feel that way, but I do a lot of stories where the consumer's wrong -- where they're trying to rip off companies, too. I have to really walk that fine line in terms of being fair about something."

In 1987, Horowitz was on KNBC's 4 p.m. newscast when a man with what appeared to be a gun took the journalist hostage live on the air. Horowitz remained calm and read the gunman's statements on camera, but the station had cut the broadcast without the gunman becoming aware of that fact.

The gun turned out to be a toy B.B. gun, and Horowitz then took on the campaign to ban toy guns that look like real guns.

He was born June 30, 1937 in the Bronx and earned a bachelor's degree from Bradley University in 1959. He went on to obtain a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.


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Horowitz started out at newspapers and television stations in the Midwest. He became a writer for NBC's "Huntley-Brinkley Report" and held several other positions with the network before joining KNBC in 1973 as its consumer reporter.

Horowitz was a regular guest on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." He also appeared as himself on episodes of "Silver Spoons," "ALF," "The Golden Girls" and "Saved by the Bell." 

Horowitz is survived by his wife, Suzanne, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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