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'Super Size Me' director Morgan Spurlock dead at 53

Grace Eliza Goodwin,Jason Guerrasio   

'Super Size Me' director Morgan Spurlock dead at 53
  • Morgan Spurlock, the creator of "Super Size Me," died at 53 from cancer complications.
  • He became famous in 2004 with his documentary, leading to McDonald's ending its "supersize" option.

Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker who famously ate only McDonald's for a full month for his 2004 Oscar-nominated film "Super Size Me," has died at the age of 53 from complications related to cancer, his family announced on Friday.

"Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity," his brother Craig Spurlock said in a statement. "The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man. I am so proud to have worked together with him."

Spurlock became an overnight sensation in the independent-film world when "Super Size Me" was released. His profile grew when, six weeks after the movie's release, McDonald's discontinued its "supersize" portions.

Thanks to his jovial personality and fearlessness in taking on controversial topics, Spurlock quickly became a major player in the golden era of the documentary space in the early 2000s.

He followed up "Super Size Me" with documentaries such as "Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?" (2008), the product-placement doc "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" (2011), and a doc on the band One Direction titled "This Is Us" (2013).

Through his production company, Warrior Poets, he directed or produced dozens of documentaries for the big screen or TV, including the CNN docuseries "Morgan Spurlock Inside Man," in which he investigated everything from gun control to elder care. It ran from 2013 to 2016.

In late 2017, at the height of the #MeToo movement, Spurlock tweeted the words "I am Part of the Problem." That tweet linked to a letter in which Spurlock confessed to multiple acts of sexual misconduct in his past. According to Spurlock's letter, a woman had accused him of rape in college, he'd settled a workplace sexual-harassment claim, and he'd been unfaithful to his past wives and girlfriends.

Within days of the tweet, Warrior Poets closed its doors, and YouTube dropped its deal to release "Super Size Me 2," in which Spurlock focused on "Big Chicken" and the dark side of the popular chicken-sandwich business.

After getting the rights back to "Super Size Me 2," Spurlock released the doc in 2019, and it would be his final movie.

At the time, Business Insider met Spurlock in Manhattan at a pop-up chicken-sandwich shop promoting the movie. It was day 641 of his sobriety, and he was thinking about the mistakes he'd made and what his future would bring.

"I'm definitely a different person than I was a year and a half ago," he said. "My priorities are different. With the company, it was like a machine: 65 people. We're paying $55,000 a month in rent. There was so much we had to do to keep that train on the tracks all the time. So to be in a place where I'm literally back almost to where I was 15 years ago, now I can do anything. But what is that?"

Spurlock is survived by his two children, Laken and Kallen; his mother, Phyllis Spurlock; his father, Ben (Iris); his brothers Craig (Carolyn) and Barry (Buffy); his multiple nieces and nephews; and his former spouses, Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, according to his family's statement.

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