Flamboyant consumer TV crusader Marvin Zindler has died at 85 of pancreatic cancer. Zindler was famed in Houston for his hard-hitting reports for KTRK-TV (Ch. 13, ABC), which had become an ABC O&O by the latter years of his long career, along with his mod wardrobe and trademark white toupees. But a single series of reports put him in the national spotlight. His 1973 series that closed down a brothel protected by the local sheriff inspired the Broadway musical and movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." The character based on Zindler, Melvin P. Thorpe, was played by Dom DeLuise in the movie version, which also starred Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton.