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



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 business and who notably ate solely at McDonald’s for a month for example the hazards of a fast-food weight-reduction plan, has died. He was 53.

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

“It was a tragic day, as we mentioned goodbye to my brother Morgan,” Craig Spurlock, who labored with him on a number of initiatives, mentioned within the assertion. “Morgan gave a lot by means of 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 Measurement 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 Measurement 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 for example the hazards of a fast-food weight-reduction plan, has died. He was 53. (AP Photograph/Mark J. Terrill)(AP)

“All the pieces’s greater in America,” he mentioned within the movie. “We’ve received the most important automobiles, the most important homes, the most important firms, the most important meals, and eventually: the most important individuals.”

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 funds and preceded the discharge of Eric Schlosser’s influential “Quick Meals Nation,” which accused the business of being unhealthy for the surroundings and rife with labor points.

Spurlock returned in 2019 with “Tremendous Measurement Me 2: Holy Rooster!” — a sober take a look at an business that processes 9 billion animals a 12 months in America. He targeted on two points: hen farmers caught in a peculiar monetary system and the try by fast-food chains to deceive prospects into considering they’re consuming more healthy.

“We’re at a tremendous second in historical past from a shopper standpoint the place customers are beginning to have an increasing number of energy,” he advised 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 fashion 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 need to provide you with permission to snicker within the locations the place it’s actually arduous to snicker,” he advised 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 substances. However nutritionally not a lot had modified.

“There was this huge shift and folks say to me, ‘So has the meals gotten more healthy?’ And I say, ‘Properly, the advertising certain has,’” he mentioned.

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. One among 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 worldwide search to search out the al-Qaida chief, who was killed in 2011. In “POM Great Presents: The Biggest Film Ever Bought,” Spurlock tackled questions of product placement, advertising and promoting.

“Being conscious is half the battle, I feel. Actually realizing on a regular basis once you’re being marketed to is a good factor,” Spurlock advised AP on the time. “Lots of people don’t understand it. They will’t see the forest for the bushes.”

“Tremendous Measurement Me 2: Holy Rooster!” was to premiere on the Sundance Movie Pageant in 2017 nevertheless it was shelved on the top 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 faculty 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 form of realization — as any person who’s a truth-teller and any person who has made it a degree of attempting to do what’s proper — of recognizing that I may do higher in my very own life. We should always be capable of admit we have been mistaken,” he advised the AP.

Spurlock grew up in Beckley, West Virginia. His mom was an English trainer who he remembered would right his work with a pink 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.


Mark Kennedy is at

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