March 19, 2014 9:48:50 AM
LONDON -- Clarissa Dickson Wright, a vivid and outspoken British television personality who found fame as half of the food-loving duo "Two Fat Ladies," has died at the age of 66.
Her agents, Heather Holden-Brown and Elly James, said Dickson Wright died Saturday at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary of an unspecified illness.
Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright grew up in an affluent London family, the daughter of a brilliant surgeon who was also a violent alcoholic.
She worked as a lawyer until her own alcoholism put an early end to a high-flying career. After giving up alcohol she worked as caterer and ran a cookery book store before being talent-spotted by the BBC for a new series.
In "Two Fat Ladies," Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson traveled Britain in an old Triumph motorcycle and sidecar, cooking lavish meals inspired by local tradition and trading quips about life, love and food.
The program became a big international hit for the BBC and ran until Paterson died of cancer in 1999, aged 71.
Patricia Llewellyn, who produced the show, said Dickson Wright was "a marvelous cook and hugely knowledgeable about food and food history."
"She was a force of nature and a true character, someone who knew how to tell a great story and had a fabulous sense of humor," Llewellyn said.
Dickson Wright went on to make other TV series and wrote books including "A History of English Food" and a memoir, "Spilling the Beans."
A supporter of traditional rural pursuits such as fox hunting, Dickson Wright was recently in the news for suggesting that Britons should eat badgers, which were shot in their thousands in a bid to curb bovine tuberculosis.
"It would solve the problem," she said. "There's going to be a cull, so rather than just throw them in the landfill site, why not eat them?"