Morgan Spurlock, ‘Super Size Me’ filmmaker, dead at 53

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‘Super Size Me’ filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dead at 53
WATCH: 'Super Size Me' filmmaker Morgan Spurlock dead at 53 – May 25, 2024

Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker best known for his documentary Super Size Me, has died at the age of 53.

His family announced his death in a statement Friday, saying he “passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends on May 23, 2024, in New York from complications of cancer.”

“It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” said Craig Spurlock, who worked with his brother on several projects. “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.”

Super Size Me, which hit theatres in 2004, earned Spurlock an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. In the film, he challenged himself to only eat meals from McDonald’s for a month — never being allowed to turn down the “super-size” option of the meal, if offered — while monitoring the effects on his mental and physical health and taking a deep dive into the inner workings of the fast food industry.

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By the end of the month, Spurlock said he was suffering from liver dysfunction, depression and had gained 25 pounds. He also claimed his cholesterol spiked and was suffering from a low sex drive.

“Everything’s bigger in America,” he said in the film. “We’ve got the biggest cars, the biggest houses, the biggest companies, the biggest food, and finally: the biggest people.”

In one scene, Spurlock showed kids a photo of George Washington and none recognized the Founding Father. But they all instantly knew the mascots for Wendy’s and McDonald’s.

The movie, which grossed US$22 million in theatres worldwide, prompted McDonald’s to cut its “super-size” option from menus. It also preceded the release of Eric Schlosser’s influential Fast Food Nation, which accused the industry of being bad for the environment and rife with labor issues.

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After the success of Super Size Me, he went on to create several other documentaries: Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden (2008), The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) and the 2017 sequel Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!

He also had his own production company, Warrior Poets, which produced and directed nearly 70 documentary films and series.

FILE – Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock participates in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss the film, ‘Go North,’ at AOL Studios on Jan. 4, 2017, in New York. Evan Agostini/ Invision / AP

In 2017, as the #MeToo movement gained traction, Spurlock posted an open letter on Twitter where he admitted he was “part of the problem” and admitted to settling a 2009 sexual harassment claim made by a female office assistant. He also revealed he was accused of rape while in college and wrote that he’d been “unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I ever had.”

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“For me, there was a moment of kind of realization — as somebody who is a truth-teller and somebody who has made it a point of trying to do what’s right — of recognizing that I could do better in my own life. We should be able to admit we were wrong,” he told The Associated Press at the time.

He stepped down from Warrior Poets shortly after the confession, effectively ending his filmmaking career.

Spurlock is survived by his former spouses; two children, Laken and Kallen; his mother, Phyllis Spurlock and father, Ben; two brothers and a handful of nieces and nephews.

with files from The Associated Press

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