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Morgan Spurlock, documentary filmmaker of 'Super Size Me', dies at 53

 Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has died.
Neilson Barnard
Getty Images for DIFF
Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has died.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has died. He was best known for Super Size Me, an inventive 2004 documentary about the fast food industry for which he consumed only McDonald’s fast food for a month. The film was a massive success and would earn more than $20 million in the global box office. 

Spurlock died Thursday, May 23, in New York of complications from cancer, according to a statement sent by David Magdael, a publicist. He was 53 years old. 

Spurlock’s brother, Craig, was quoted in the statement.

“It was a sad day, as we said goodbye to my brother Morgan,” he said. “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 together with him.”

Spurlock would produce and direct nearly 70 film and TV shows, all of them documentaries. They included Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?, about the U.S. war in Afghanistan and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, a meta movie about marketing a movie.

In 2017, during the #MeToo era, Spurlock posted a letter on social media in which he called himself “part of the problem.”

He talked about a sexual episode in college that his female partner had experienced as nonconsensual, which Spurlock said he found confusing. “Then there was the time I settled a sexual harassment allegation at my office,” he wrote about the incident, which he said occurred around 2011. “And it wasn’t a gropy feely harassment. It was verbal, and it was just as bad. I would call my female assistant “hot pants” or “sex pants” when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence.”

As a result of the letter, Spurlock resigned from his production company, and both YouTube and Sundance decided against showing his documentary about the corporate takeover of family farms, called Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken. The movie was eventually released, and Spurlock talked about a comeback to Business Insider in 2019, but his IMDB page does not show any projects he produced after 2017.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.