WESTON, Fla. - Art Ginsburg, the television chef known as Mr. Food, has died at his home in Weston, Fla.
Ginsburg, who was 81, enticed viewers for decades with a can-do focus on easy weeknight cooking and the tagline "Ooh! It's so good!" He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just over a year ago and died Wednesday. The cancer had gone into remission following early treatments and surgery, but returned earlier this month.
"He felt that a lot of people needed help putting food on the table for their families on a regular income and he said, 'They need help, someone to guide them,'" said Art's son Chuck Ginsburg.
His son said Art made the catchphrase up.
"He made it up himself. He knew he needed a gimmick," said Chuck Ginsburg.
Ginsburg had an unlikely formula for success in this era of reality cooking shows, flashy chefs and artisanal foods. With a pleasantly goofy, grandfatherly manner and a willingness to embrace processed foods, Ginsburg endeared himself to millions of home cooks via 90-second segments syndicated to 125 local television stations, including Local 10, around the country.
The father of three and grandfather of six was a true family man. His beloved wife Ethel was often at his side.
His longtime friend Monroe Udell, who founded Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlour in Dania Beach, called him a "Mensch," which is Yiddish for a person of integrity and honor.
"He just had a heart. He was a real great person. He did a lot of good things for people," said Udell.
Ginsburg also published 50 Mr. Food cookbooks, filling them with simple recipes. He sold more than 8 million copies.
But his greatest achievement was the pride and joy he had in his family.
"The fans know him as Mr. Food, but as a father, I could not have asked for anything better," said Chuck Ginsburg.
Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.