David Goodstein was born in Denver, Colorado in 1932. After graduating from Cornell University in 1954 he earned an LLB degree from Columbia University. He practiced for a time in New York City as a criminal attorney. In 1960 his career moved to Wall Street, where he founded Compufund, a mutual fund that introduced statistical analysis of common stocks using computers. During this period, Goodstein became involved in social issues, serving on the boards of Grand Street Settlement Houses and the United Settlement Houses of New York, and Cornell University's Special Education Program for racial minorities. While in New York City, he served on the Cornell University Council, and was president of the Friends of the Andrew D. White Museum. He was a collector and dealer of art, and with his brother Edward, established one of the finest collections of Italian Baroque painting in the United States. Goodstein was also an avid amateur horseman and American Saddlebred Horse
owner and exhibitor. Goodstein moved to California in 1971 and there became active in the gay rights movement and the California Democratic party. He was instrumental in attaining the passage of California's consensual sex legislation in 1974, and was responsible for the creation of the Gay Rights National Lobby in 1976. He was a co-founder of Concerned Voters of California, a gay rights group which helped defeat a 1978 initiative that would have banned homosexuals from teaching or working in public schools. In the early 1980s, Goodstein made a highly successful national tour to establish a network of gay political fundraisers. He was also the founder and chairman of the Whitman-Radclyffe Foundation, a gay service organization dealing with drug abuse. In 1975 Goodstein bought the
Advocate, a Los Angeles-based gay magazine. Within ten years it was the largest circulation gay news magazine in the country. He served as president of Liberation Publications, Inc., publisher of the Advocate. He also founded the "Advocate Experience," an EST-derived workshop designed primarily for gays and lesbians. He also served as a member of the National Democratic Finance Council, the California State Democratic Central Committee, and the Hunger Project Council. Goodstein died on 22 June 1985 of complications arising from cancer.