Marvin Zindler, a consumer affairs reporter for Houston television station KTRK, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Zindler, whose reports in the early 1970s helped close the Chicken Ranch brothel in Fayette County and were chronicled in the book and play “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” announced his illness in a report for KTRK from his hospital room Thursday.
He recounted his various surgeries, including two open heart surgeries and various cosmetic surgeries. He said the cancer in his liver and pancreas was found after a CAT scan earlier this week.
“Well, I know everybody thinks that’s a fatal disease and it is, but you have to take treatment for it and you have to stay with it,” Zindler said. “I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me because I am almost 86 years old, next month in August. Most people are dead when they are 65 or 70 and I am lucky to be alive at 86.”
Zindler is undergoing chemotherapy.
Zindler blew the whistle on the Chicken Ranch in 1973.
“Action 13 received an anonymous complaint about two alleged houses of prostitution,” was how Zindler opened his nightly segment in late July 1973. “The complainant said the houses were operating openly in our neighboring towns of Sealy and La Grange. It’s illegal to operate a house of prostitution in Texas. And past history shows they cannot function without someone in authority protecting them.”
By Aug. 1, 1973, his pressure forced Gov. Dolph Briscoe to order the closure of two brothels. The bordello outside La Grange was closed the next day.