Keith Floyd, a flamboyant chef who shared his passion for good food and fine wine with a generation of British television viewers, has died, his ghostwriter said Tuesday. He was 65.
James Steen said Floyd died Monday of a heart attack in Bridport, southwest England. He had been suffering from bowel cancer.
Born in 1943, Floyd developed an interest in cooking while serving in the British army, trying out his culinary creations in the officers' mess. He later worked in kitchens in Britain and France before opening his own restaurants in Bristol, southwest England, where he was discovered by a television producer.
Starting in the 1980s, series like "Floyd on Fish" and "Floyd on France" made him a household name in Britain and were shown around the world. He became famous for his bow tie, ever-present glass of wine and unscripted banter with his cameraman that sometimes tipped over into bickering.
Steen said one of Floyd's breakthroughs was to attract men to the world of cooking.
"At that time it was thought that if you were a man you couldn't cook," Steen said. "But he said 'I'm a man, I love rugby, I love women, I can cook.'"
Floyd paved the way for a generation of TV chefs that includes Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. Oliver said Floyd had been "an inspiration to me and to so many others."
Floyd's off-screen ventures, which included restaurants in Britain, France and Thailand, sometimes struggled — he once said he did not have a head for business.
He also battled a drinking problem, and in 2004 was banned from driving for 32 months after crashing his car into another vehicle while three-and-a-half times the legal alcohol limit.
Floyd was married four times. He is survived by a son and a daughter.