Marvin Zindler (1921-2007)

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - Marvin Zindler, the flamboyant pioneer of TV consumer reporting whose crusade against a rural brothel inspired "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," died Sunday from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 85.

Zindler landed at Houston television station KTRK in 1973, soon after he was fired from the Harris County Sheriff's Department. He made his mark by railing against "a bawdy house" near La Grange, Texas, that July.

Zindler said state Attorney General John Hill had seen reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety about how local law enforcement allowed the "Chicken Ranch" brothel to operate.

Hill enlisted Zindler's help and gave him the DPS investigative reports. Zindler followed through with a series of reports exposing Chicken Ranch and the law enforcement conspiracy.

He showed the evidence to Governor Dolph Briscoe on a Monday and the brothel was closed by Thursday, but its legacy had just begun.

The TV reports made Zindler a household name statewide. His fame grew when a Playboy Magazine story followed. "The Best Little
Whorehouse in Texas" became a Broadway smash and propelled Zindler to national renown.

Zindler is survived by his wife Niki, five children, nine grand children and a great-grand child.

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