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Art Ginsburg, TV chef 'Mr. Food,' dies at 81

November 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Art Ginsburg, the beloved TV chef known as Mr. Food, died Wednesday following a struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Ginsburg passed away at his home in Weston, Fla. He was diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago. The illness had gone into remission following early treatments and surgery, but returned earlier this month.

The delightfully dorky TV chef enticed viewers for decades with a can-do focus on easy cooking and the tagline "Ooh! It's so good!" With a pleasantly goofy, grandfatherly manner, Ginsburg endeared himself to home cooks via 90-second segments syndicated to 125 local television stations around the country, including ABC7. He oftened appeared on our morning and afternoon newscasts.

Ginsburg published 52 Mr. Food-related cookbooks and sold more than 8 million copies. He was largely ignored by the glossy magazines and was little known to the nation's foodies - but that was the way he liked it.

"They're on the Food Network. They're getting a lot of national publicity. And they're getting big money," he said of fellow food celebrities during a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "I was always the hometown guy. I don't want to be the super celebrity. When you need bodyguards, that's not my deal."

Ginsburg made his TV debut in 1975 in upstate New York on a local morning program. His Mr. Food vignettes were syndicated in nine television markets by 1980. By 2007, he was appearing on 168 stations.

In recent years, Ginsburg eased his involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company he founded, Ginsburg Enterprises Incorporated, which produces the television segments and oversees his many other ventures, including a line of house ware products. The company also produced television segments that did not star Ginsburg, billing them as the "Mr. Food Test Kitchen." It plans to continue producing and syndicating those segments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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