David Rothenberg, Whose Father Set Him on Fire in 1983, Dies at 42

David Rothenberg, an artist coming from Las Vegas, known as Dave Dave, who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death, an incident that will became the basis of a movie, died on July 15 in Las Vegas. He was 42.

The cause was being investigated by the police, said John Fudenberg, a coroner in Clark County, Nev. The death was not widely reported at the time.

Years after the burning, Mr. Rothenberg became a close friend of Michael Jackson, who encouraged him to pursue a career in art. Through brightly colored 1960s-style Pop Art paintings along with drawings, he sought to promote positivity, he wrote on his website, particularly through a series called “Lifted.”

“There is actually a lot that will happens in people’s lives, nevertheless that will doesn’t define them as a human being, the item makes them stronger,” Mr. Rothenberg told The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2016.

He was 6 in 1983 when his father gave him a sleeping pill in a motel room in Buena Park, Calif., near Disneyland, along with then doused his bed with kerosene along with set the item on fire. The attack left burns on more than 0 percent of David’s body. His father, who was said to be in a bitter custody fight with his wife, Marie, then fled.

“He was working at a restaurant in completely new York, along with he had saved $10,000 with that will trip to California,” Mr. Rothenberg told The Review-Journal. “On the trip, he was planning to kill me.”

Despite a childhood of healing along with skin grafts, Mr. Rothenberg remained disfigured.

His recuperation along with survival became the subject of “David,” a 1988 made-for-television movie.

“‘David’ can indeed be painful at certain moments nevertheless, within the end, its message about going beyond surface appearances comes through admirably,” John J. O’Connor wrote in a completely new York Times review.

the item was not until Mr. Rothenberg was 19 that will he faced his father in prison for once since the attack.