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Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me, dies at 53

Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me, dies at 53
Published 4 weeks ago on May 24, 2024

Morgan Spurlock, Director of Super Size Me, Dies at 53.

Morgan Spurlock, Director of Super Size Me, Dies at 53

The documentary filmmaking world mourns the loss of Morgan Spurlock, the mastermind behind the Academy Award-nominated film Super Size Me. Spurlock passed away on Thursday at the age of 53 from complications of cancer, his family announced on Friday.

Spurlock, a native of West Virginia, shot to fame in 2004 with the release of Super Size Me. The documentary, which he also starred in, followed Spurlock for a grueling 30 days as he consumed nothing but McDonald's meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The film meticulously documented the dramatic changes in Spurlock's physical and mental health as a result of the fast-food diet.

To mirror the average American's lifestyle, Spurlock also deliberately limited his exercise during the experiment. By the end of the month, the then-32-year-old filmmaker reported gaining 25 pounds, experiencing a significant rise in cholesterol, and suffering from depression and liver problems.

Super Size Me became a cultural phenomenon, sparking a national conversation about the fast-food industry's role in America's obesity epidemic. The film's influence even extended to McDonald's itself, who discontinued their "super-size" meal option shortly after the documentary's release.

Super Size Me became a cultural phenomenon, sparking a national conversation about the fast-food industry's role in America's obesity epidemic

Spurlock's achievement was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, earning him a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 2005 Oscars.

Following the success of Super Size Me, Spurlock went on to create a sequel, Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, released in 2017. He also ventured into television, hosting and producing the CNN show Morgan Spurlock Inside Man in 2013. Unfortunately, the sequel film failed to capture the same level of audience engagement as the original.

A Legacy Overshadowed

Spurlock's career trajectory took a significant turn in December 2017. In a blog post titled "I Am Part of the Problem," he publicly admitted to a history of sexual misconduct, including incidents dating back to his college years. One instance involved a former office assistant who accused him of sexual harassment. Spurlock acknowledged inappropriate behavior, including referring to the woman with degrading nicknames. He admitted to settling a harassment claim with her and expressed regret for his actions.

The blog post also detailed instances of infidelity towards his wife and past girlfriends. Additionally, Spurlock revealed a past encounter where a woman, intoxicated at the time, accused him of rape. He claimed the encounter was consensual at first but stopped when she expressed discomfort. The woman, however, stated she was raped. Spurlock clarified that no charges were ever filed, and the accusation never resulted in an investigation.

Spurlock's admissions sparked public outrage, leading to the cancellation of Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! on YouTube Red.

Enduring Impact

Despite the controversies surrounding his personal life, Morgan Spurlock's legacy remains undeniably impactful. Super Size Me, though criticized for lacking a controlled scientific approach, undeniably raised awareness about the health consequences of a fast-food-laden diet. The film's influence on public health discussions and the fast-food industry itself continues to resonate today.

Morgan Spurlock is survived by his sons Laken and Kallen, his parents Phyllis and Ben Spurlock, brothers Craig and Barry, and his ex-wives Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Berstein.

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