Mr. Food Kept Illness Quiet

November 21, 2012 Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 7:41 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Kendra Eaglin

November 21, 2012 Updated Nov 21, 2012 at 7:41 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - No one can say it like Mr. Food. "Oooh, it's so good!"

Art Ginsburg better known as Mr. Food was a regular on television sets across the country. His show was seen in almost 170 cities at its peak but he had a special soft spot for Buffalo and WKBW-TV.

WKBW was the first station to pick up his syndicated show and for the past 19 years he gave back to western New Yorkers as the co-host of the annual Variety Kids Telethon.

He developed a special bond with Victoria Macy, the 2004 celebrity child ho was very emotional about his death.

"He had a very big heart for the kids especially, always during those corporate challenges he would encourage western New Yorkers from the bottom of his heart to put in a little extra, give a little more for the kids," said Victoria Macy, the 2004 Variety Club Celebrity Child.

"When he contracted cancer before our 50th annual telethon the one thing he told me he kept telling the doctors he goes, 'I gotta get to Buffalo, I gotta get to Buffalo, I gotta get to Buffalo you gotta do whatever you can,'" said Steve Podosek, who Executive Producer of the Variety Kids Telethon.

But even some of his closest friends in Western New York didn't know he had been battling pancreatic cancer for more than one year. The news came as a shock to Russell Salvatore who had dinner with him during the most recent telethon.

"I didn't know he was sick, I mean he certainly hid it very well. When I had dinner with him the last time when he came in for the telethon he never gave any inclining that he was sick, I didn't think he was 81," said Salvatore.

Ginsburg appeared at the Channel 7 studios so often many didn't know the show is actually produced in Florida.

Linda Pellegrino, co-host of AM Buffalo spent plenty of time in the kitchen with Ginsburg.

"He had really western New York in his heart as a matter of fact my son who is 21 now. Mr. Food was one of the first people to give me a gift, that's how long I have worked with Art Ginsburg," said Pellegrino.