Morgan Spurlock, Star Of McDonalds Documentary ‘Super Size Me,’ Dies At 53

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Documentary Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of 'Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!' attends The IMDb Studio Hosted By The Visa Infinite Lounge at The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Bisha Hotel & Residences on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)
Documentary Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of ‘Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!’ attends The IMDb Studio Hosted By The Visa Infinite Lounge at The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Bisha Hotel & Residences on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

OAN’s James Meyers
1:42 PM – Friday, May 24, 2024

Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker best known for the 2004 indie film/drama “Super Size Me,” has died at the age of 53. He directed, produced, and wrote the screenplay.


Spurlock died on Thursday night from “complications of cancer,” according to multiple outlets.

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

Spurlock, who was born in 1970 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1993. 

His career in the entertainment industry began as a playwright, winning awards for his 1999 play “The Phoenix” at the New York Fringe Festival. 

Before his rise to fame, Spurlock created the comedic web series “Bet You Will,” which paid contestants to take part in outrageous challenges for cash prizes, which included eating a jar full of mayonnaise. The show aired on networks like MTV and Spike TV, which is now Paramount Network.

However, the 53-year-old’s claim to fame was his 2004 documentary film “Super Size Me,” which chronicled his bodily health while vowing to only eat McDonalds for 30 days straight. 

“It’s a great way to take the edge off a very preachy subject,” he told the Guardian in 2004.

The film did so well that Spurlock was nominated for an Oscar that year. It was nominated under the category of “Best Documentary Feature,” and he also won the award for “Best Director” at the famous Sundance Film Festival.

Spurlock told Civil Eats in 2010: “There are great films that are out there that deal with food, [and] I think if there’s a way I can help champion some of those other filmmakers, I’d rather do that than go into making another food movie.”

“For me, movies have to be something that if you don’t [make them], then you are going to go crazy. If you don’t tell this story, if you don’t put it on a page, if you don’t put it on film, then it is literally going to affect your brain from this moment forward,” he went on. “There may be something that comes along that kind of strikes me in that way, and if it does, I’ll have to tell it.”

He followed up “Super Size Me,” with the 2008 film “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?” in which Spurlock searched for the notorious terrorist while visiting different countries.

Spurlock was also responsible for the CNN series “Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man,” which aired from 2013 to 2016, and the FX series “30 days,” which aired from 2005 to 2008 and followed people immersing themselves in unfamiliar lifestyles for a month. During that show, Spurlock himself tried to survive on minimum wage for 30 days.

His 2017 sequel, “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!,” highlighted the way that fast food brands have attempted to rebrand themselves as being healthier than in the past.

However, in 2017, Spurlock posted an essay on social media that read, “As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’” He then detailed cheating on his past partners and instances of sexual misconduct.

Speaking to Uproxx in 2019, he said about his motivations, “I think that we live in a time where if you look at everything that’s happened around that movement, the mission for anybody is these guys come forward. And I think it was really important for me to basically say, ‘I’m a person who’s made mistakes in my past. I’m somebody who has made it a point to tell the truth in my work. And I recognize that I can do better.’ And I think that we live in a world right now where we encourage people to lie consistently and aggressively, simply for self-preservation. And I think that that is a very wrong message to be sending.”

The 53-year-old also told Deadline in 2019, “Part of the reason I wrote that essay in the first place, was to be on the right side of it. I’m hopeful that in time, with the work that I do and the changes that I continue to go through, that I can be there on the right side.”

His career imploded after that.

“I’m grateful for what we were able to do, and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. Does it hurt sometimes? Of course, it does, but all I can do is continue to be as good a supporter of other people, of women, of men, of young filmmakers, of the people that I was really trying to champion for a long time,” he told the outlet.

“I love what I do. I’m hopeful that I can go from this and start doing what I love to do, that’s the most important thing for me. All I’ve ever wanted to do was be a storyteller. I hope I get to do it again.”

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