Morgan Spurlock, director of “Super Size Me,” dies at age 53

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has died at age 53. Spurlock rose to fame with his 2004 documentary “Super Size Me.”

Early life

Spurlock was born and grew up in West Virginia. He graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1993 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film. Spurlock was also a playwright, with his work The Phoenix winning awards in 1999 and 2000. In addition, he created the stunt webcast I Bet You Will in 2002. The show was subsequently bought and screened by MTV. Following these successes, Spurlock founded his Warrior Poets film production studio in 2004.

Super Size Me

“Super Size Me” was Spurlock’s film directorial debut. The documentary followed Spurlock as he aimed to eat only McDonald’s food for a whole month. He completed the challenge despite advice from doctors that he should stop after 21 days due to the risks to his health. Shot on a budget of only $65,000, Super Size Me earned $22.2 million at the box office. The film also won Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America and was nominated for an Oscar.


Spurlock went on to direct more than 20 films and documentaries. These included “Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?” (2008), which saw Spurlock set out to find the leader of al-Qaida. Spurlock also ran a fast-food restaurant in “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!” which was released in 2017. In addition, he directed projects as diverse as a 3D tour movie for the British boy band One Direction and “The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special.” The latter project saw him nominated for an Emmy in 2010


In 2017, Spurlock published an open letter in which he admitted to historical sexual misconduct. He said that he had been accused of rape while at college and that he had settled a claim of sexual harassment from a female employee. In addition, Spurlock confessed to being “unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had”. Following the admissions, he resigned from the Warrior Poets production company.


Spurlock died on May 23, 2024 — age 53. The filmmaker’s family announced that he “passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends in New York from complications of cancer.” In a family statement, his brother Craig Spurlock said: “It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan. 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 with him.”

“Super Size Me” is the documentary for which Morgan Spurlock is the most well-known. However, the breadth and diversity of his filmography shows how talented and visionary he was. His work raised awareness and tackled issues including product placement, advertising, the US war in Afghanistan, elder care and gambling. In addition, Spurlock’s work was an inspiration to many other filmmakers, showing that you don’t need a huge budget to achieve success.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

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