Morgan Spurlock, 'Super Size Me' Documentary Star, Dead at 53

Morgan Spurlock died Thursday in upstate New York due to complications of cancer.

Morgan Spurlock, 'Super Size Me' Documentary Star, Dead at 53


7:22 AM PDT, May 24, 2024

Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker best known for his 2004 box office hit, Super Size Me, died Thursday in upstate New York due to complications of cancer. 

The 53-year-old's family confirmed his death to Variety in a heartfelt statement. "It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan," said Craig Spurlock, who collaborated with his brother on several projects. "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 shot to fame with Super Size Me, a provocative documentary in which he chronicled his own purported psychological and physical deterioration after consuming only McDonald's food for 30 days. The film’s premise also included a rule that Spurlock had to accept the "super-size" option if prompted during a transaction and reduce his physical activity to mirror that of an average American. By the end of his experiment, Spurlock reported gaining 25 pounds and experiencing depression and liver dysfunction, though, years later, he disclosed he had been drinking since he was 13 years old. 

Morgan Spurlock during The 10th Annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival - Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Following its release in 2004, the documentary grossed $22 million globally and ignited a critical discussion of the fast food industry’s role in promoting unhealthy eating habits. Spurlock received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature that year and won the award for Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival.

Spurlock began his career in the entertainment industry as a playwright, earning accolades for his 1999 play "The Phoenix" at the New York Fringe Festival.

Prior to gaining widespread recognition, he created and hosted the gonzo web series "Bet You Will," where contestants were paid to perform outrageous tasks for money, such as eating a full jar of mayonnaise. The show aired on both MTV and the now-defunct Spike.

In December 2017, amid the growing momentum of the #MeToo movement, Spurlock posted a lengthy message on social media admitting he was "part of the problem."

"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?'" he wrote. "I wonder, ‘When will they come for me?'"

Spurlock went on to reflect on a time in college when he says he "hooked up" with a girl who then wrote a short story alleging that he raped her. "I didn’t know what to do," he recounted. "We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing OK, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped. That’s why I’m part of the problem."

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); multiple nieces and nephews; and his former spouses, Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein.