Longtime KNBC-TV Channel 4 consumer reporter David Horowitz has died at age 81, his wife told the station Monday.
Horowitz was best known for his appearances on KNBC’s newscasts and Emmy-winning TV program “Fight Back! With David Horowitz” that investigated defective products, advertised claims and confronted companies with customer complaints.
Born June 30, 1937, in the the Bronx borough of New York City, Horowitz received a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University in 1959 and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Horowitz worked at newspapers and television stations in the Midwest, including KRNT-TV (now KCCI), the CBS affiliate in Des Moines.
Horowitz 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’s acclaim led to being a regular guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and appearing as himself on episodes of “Silver Spoons,” “ALF,” “The Golden Girls” and “Saved by the Bell.”
“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.”
Horowitz was on KNBC’s 4 p.m. newscast on Aug. 19, 1987, when a man with what appeared to be a gun took him 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 BB gun. Horowitz then joined a drive to outlaw realistic toy guns in California.
Horowitz is survived by his wife, Suzanne, two daughters and two grandchildren.