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.
“the item was very cathartic to be able to look my dad within the face along with tell him exactly what was on my mind,” he said. “A lot of people don’t get a chance to do that will, to face the person who hurt them.”
His father, Charles Rothenberg, spent less than seven years of a 13-year sentence in prison for attempted murder. His criminal record grew, with charges of robbery along with different crimes. In 2007, he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in California.
The completely new York Times contributed reporting.