Super Size Me Star And Director Morgan Spurlock Dead At 53

Documentary filmmaker and producer Morgan Spurlock died on Thursday May 23, 2024 at the age of 53 due to cancer-related complications. He is best known for his movie "Super Size Me," which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. Spurlock went on to helm dozens of television series and feature films that broadly covered culture, including looks at consumerism, education, sports, and more — all were part of the production company he co-founded in 2004, Warrior Poets.

"Rats" (2016) dove into global rat infestations, while "I Am Santa Claus" (2014) followed the off-season lives of four men that were employed to portray Father Christmas. "Web Junkie" (2013) looked at Chinese rehabilitation centers for young people with internet addictions, and "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?" (2008) showed a different perspective on the United States' war in Afghanistan that lasted 20 years.

Yet it was the eye-opening documentary "Super Size Me" that really put him on the map. For 30 days, Spurlock exclusively ate food from McDonald's, indulging in huge quantities of stacked Big Mac burgers, french fries, and extra-large sodas, and documented the changes it had on his body and health. The title of the film comes from the fact that, any time an employee asked if he wanted his meal "super-sized," Spurlock said yes.

Super Size Me was inspired by a 2002 lawsuit

Morgan Spurlock took inspiration for "Super Size Me" from a 2002 lawsuit filed by two young people who claimed that McDonald's was to blame for the obesity-related health problems they endured. The two teenagers ate from the fast food chain routinely and said that McDonald's did not adequately disclose the risks of consuming its food. Ultimately, the plaintiffs' case was thrown out by a judge, but the related themes of serving sizes in the U.S. as well as corporate responsibility, proved to be interesting fodder for this groundbreaking film.

Even if the documentary leaned a bit garish and extreme in its depictions, it nonetheless made its point. Both Spurlock's personal experience and the commentary on the fast food industry in general made the poignancy of this film long-lasting. In fact, the project seemed to bring big changes to McDonald's, as it stopped offering the "super size" option not long thereafter, though the company cited menu simplification as the primary reason.