Morgan Spurlock, 'Super Size Me' Director, Dead at 53

Renowned documentary filmmaker succumbs to cancer at 53.

by Nouman Rasool
Morgan Spurlock, 'Super Size Me' Director, Dead at 53
© Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Morgan Spurlock, the groundbreaking and controversial documentary filmmaker best known for his hard-hitting "Super Size Me," has died at 53 from complications of cancer, his family said this past Friday. Renowned for his daring methodology toward documentary filmmaking, with more of a presentation form than the document itself, Spurlock left behind quite a legacy of thoughtful and discussion-provoking films that pertained to so many societal norms and consumer habits alike.

After being born in West Virginia, his most notorious work released in 2004 was the movie "Super Size Me," an experiment where he ate nothing but McDonald's for an entire month and recorded the dire consequences on his health.

The film brought huge critical acclaim and initiated a worldwide debate on whether or not fast food is linked with health and diet. The documentary was a smashing success and even revolutionized how fast-food company products were advertised and marketed and firmly demonstrated the role of transparency in nutrition.

Exposing Fast Food Tactics

He continued in 2017 to make a follow-up, "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! ," based around how the industry evolved with the rise in health consciousness among consumers. Going even further into the world of fast food, he opened his own chicken restaurant to once and for all unveil the marketing strategies that fast food corporations employ to tap into the health-conscious public.

Combined with his meticulous take-downs of the fast food industry, Spurlock also delved into the all-powerful nature of advertising and marketing in his 2011 documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

This film, financed entirely through sponsorships, investigated the business of product placement and marketing within the film industry itself. Spurlock's personal life, marked by his vibrant creativity and commitment to revealing uncomfortable truths, was full of notable relationships and a loving family.

He is survived by his two sons, Laken and Kallen; his parents, Phyllis and Ben Spurlock; brothers Craig and Barry; and his former wives Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, who are the mothers of his children. His brother, Craig Spurlock, reflected on Morgan's contributions: "Morgan gave so much through his art, ideas, and generosity. The world has lost a true creative genius and a special man."