Documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who ate McDonald’s in ‘Super Size Me,’ dies at 53

NEW YORK (AP) — Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, an Oscar nominee whose most well-known works skewered America’s meals trade and who notably ate solely at McDonald’s for a month as an example the risks of a fast-food food regimen, has died. He was 53.

Spurlock died Thursday in New York from problems of most cancers, based on an announcement issued Friday by his household.

“It was a tragic day, as we stated goodbye to my brother Morgan,” Craig Spurlock, who labored with him on a number of initiatives, stated within the assertion. “Morgan gave a lot by his artwork, concepts, and generosity. The world has misplaced a real artistic genius and a particular man. I’m so proud to have labored along with him.”

Spurlock made a splash in 2004 together with his groundbreaking movie “Tremendous Dimension Me,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie chronicled the detrimental bodily and psychological results of Spurlock consuming solely McDonald’s meals for 30 days. He gained about 25 kilos, noticed a spike in his ldl cholesterol and misplaced his intercourse drive.

FILE – Morgan Spurlock poses on the Los Angeles premiere of his movie “Tremendous Dimension Me,” Thursday evening, April 22, 2004, within the Hollywood part of Los Angeles. Spurlock, an Oscar-nominee who made meals and American diets his life’s work, famously consuming solely at McDonald’s for a month as an example the risks of a fast-food food regimen, has died. He was 53. (AP Picture/Mark J. Terrill)(AP)

“Every part’s greater in America,” he stated within the movie. “We’ve bought the most important vehicles, the most important homes, the most important firms, the most important meals, and eventually: the most important folks.”

In a single scene, Spurlock confirmed youngsters a photograph of George Washington and none acknowledged the Founding Father. However all of them immediately knew the mascots for Wendy’s and McDonald’s.

The movie grossed greater than $22 million on a $65,000 finances and preceded the discharge of Eric Schlosser’s influential “Quick Meals Nation,” which accused the trade of being unhealthy for the surroundings and rife with labor points.

Spurlock returned in 2019 with “Tremendous Dimension Me 2: Holy Rooster!” — a sober take a look at an trade that processes 9 billion animals a yr in America. He centered on two points: hen farmers caught in a peculiar monetary system and the try by fast-food chains to deceive clients into pondering they’re consuming more healthy.

“We’re at a tremendous second in historical past from a client standpoint the place customers are beginning to have increasingly more energy,” he informed The Related Press in 2019. “It’s not about return for the shareholders. It’s about return for the customers.”

Spurlock was a gonzo-like filmmaker who leaned into the weird and ridiculous. His stylistic touches included zippy graphics and amusing music, mixing a Michael Moore-ish camera-in-your-face type together with his personal humorousness and pathos.

“I needed to have the ability to lean into the intense moments. I needed to have the ability to breathe within the moments of levity. We wish to provide you with permission to snicker within the locations the place it’s actually onerous to snicker,” he informed the AP.

After he uncovered the fast-food and hen industries, there was an explosion in eating places stressing freshness, artisanal strategies, farm-to-table goodness and ethically sourced elements. However nutritionally not a lot had modified.

“There was this large shift and other people say to me, ‘So has the meals gotten more healthy?’ And I say, ‘Properly, the advertising and marketing positive has,’” he stated.

Not all his work handled meals. Spurlock made documentaries in regards to the boy band One Path and the geeks and fanboys at Comedian-Con. Considered one of his movies checked out life behind bars on the Henrico County Jail in Virginia.

With 2008′s “The place within the World is Osama bin Laden?” Spurlock went on a world search to seek out the al-Qaida chief, who was killed in 2011. In “POM Great Presents: The Biggest Film Ever Offered,” Spurlock tackled questions of product placement, advertising and marketing and promoting.

“Being conscious is half the battle, I feel. Actually understanding on a regular basis once you’re being marketed to is a superb factor,” Spurlock informed AP on the time. “Lots of people don’t notice it. They’ll’t see the forest for the timber.”

“Tremendous Dimension Me 2: Holy Rooster!” was to premiere on the Sundance Movie Competition in 2017 however it was shelved on the peak of the #MeToo motion when Spurlock got here ahead to element his personal historical past of sexual misconduct.

He confessed that he had been accused of rape whereas in school and had settled a sexual harassment case with a feminine assistant. He additionally admitted to dishonest on quite a few companions. “I’m a part of the issue,” he wrote.

“For me, there was a second of sort of realization — as someone who’s a truth-teller and someone who has made it a degree of making an attempt to do what’s proper — of recognizing that I may do higher in my very own life. We must always be capable to admit we had been incorrect,” he informed the AP.

Spurlock grew up in Beckley, West Virginia. His mom was an English trainer who he remembered would right his work with a purple pen. He graduated with a BFA in movie from New York College in 1993.

He’s survived by two sons — Laken and Kallen; his mom Phyllis Spurlock; father Ben; brothers Craig and Barry; and former spouses Alexandra Jamieson and Sara Bernstein, the moms of his kids.


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