Morgan Spurlock, Oscar-Nominated Documentarian Behind ‘Super Size Me’ and More, Dies at 53

The filmmaker died from complications of cancer

Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind groundbreaking documentaries like “Super Size Me” and “Where In the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” died on Thursday. He was 53 years old.

Spurlock’s family announced the news on Friday morning, revealing that he died in New York after complications from cancer, while surrounded by family and friends.

“It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” Craig Spurlock, who worked with Morgan on multiple projects, said in a statement. “Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity.  The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man. I am so proud to have worked together with him.”

“It’s heartbreaking news. I know Morgan as a wonderful person to work for, very appreciative of his family, and devoted to the health and well-being of his children — in addition to being a great filmmaker,” Spurlock’s divorce attorney Randi Karmel said in a statement to TheWrap. “My thoughts are with Morgan’s family at this very difficult time.”

Spurlock first achieved worldwide recognition after his 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” which followed Spurlock as he temporarily changed his diet to consist solely of fast food, and chronicled the changes he saw in his health.

The film marked a huge shift in the conversation about fast food in America, and earned Spurlock an Oscar nomination. The movie is still shown and taught in schools today.

With his production company Warrior Poets, Spurlock produced and directed nearly 70 documentary films and television series over 13 years. Other titles included “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?”, “30 Days,” “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and more.

In 2017, Spurlock’s production company was shuttered, after he publicly posted a MeToo mea culpa on Twitter (as it was still then known). In it, he admitted to sexually harassing a female assistant of his, being unfaithful to all of his romantic partners, and discussed being accused of rape in college, calling himself “part of the problem.”

In a 2019 interview, Spurlock explained his decision to come forward, saying “I felt I have said things and had behavioral missteps that are just as upsetting and problematic and, looking back, I’m upset about them. I felt I should just admit this, I should own up to it. I should say that I can do better.”

He added, “In this heated #MeToo conversation, me doing that was partly that we need to have a space where people can own up to their past and confidently move forward. And I don’t think we were there then and I still don’t think we are there now.”

Spurlock is survived by two sons, Laken and Kallen, his mother Phyllis Spurlock, his father Ben, brothers Craig and Barry, multiple nieces and nephews, and former spouses Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, the mothers of his children. He amicably settled his divorce from Bernstein just three months prior to his death.

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