Morgan Valentine Spurlock
(born November 7, 1970) is an American documentary filmmaker, television producer and screenwriter, best known for the documentary
film Super Size Me, in which
he demonstrated the negative health effects of McDonald's food by eating nothing but meals from
McDonald's three times a day, every day, for 30 days.
Spurlock is also the executive producer and star of the reality television series 30 Days
Spurlock attended Woodrow
Wilson High School
, graduating in 1989. He graduated with a
BFA in film from New York
University's Tisch School
of the Arts in 1993. Before making the 2004 Academy Award nominated Super Size
Me, Spurlock was a playwright,
winning awards for his play The Phoenix at both the
York International Fringe
Festival in 1999 and the Route 66 American Playwriting
Competition in 2000.
He also created I Bet You Will
. I Bet You Will
began as a popular Internet
webcast of five-minute episodes featuring ordinary people doing
disgusting, unusual, or embarrassing stunts in exchange for money.
Examples include eating a full jar of mayonnaise ($235USD), eating
a "worm burrito" ($265USD), and taking shots of corn oil
, cold chicken broth, and cod
($450USD for all nine shots). The webcast was a
success, with over a million hits in the first five days. The show
was later bought and aired by MTV.
Super Size Me
Spurlock's docudrama Super Size Me
was released in the
U.S. on May 7, 2004. This production was later nominated for an
for Best Documentary
feature. He conceived the idea for the film when he was at his
parents' house for Thanksgiving, and while watching TV saw a news
story about a lawsuit brought against McDonalds by two teenage
girls who blamed the fast food chain for their obesity. The film
depicts an experiment he conducted in 2003, in which he ate three
meals a day every day (and
nothing else) for 30 days, mandatory that he take the "super-size"
option whenever it was offered and never take it when not offered,
the end result being a diet with twice the calories
recommended by the USDA. Further, Spurlock
attempted to curtail his physical activity to better match the
exercise habits of the average American (he previously walked about
3 miles a day where as the average American walks 1.5 miles).
He was of above-average health and fitness when he started the
project; he gained 25 pounds (11 kg), suffered liver
dysfunction and depression
by the end. Spurlock's
supervising physicians noted the effects caused by his
diet—one even comparing it to a case of
severe binge alcoholism
After the completion of the project, it took Spurlock fourteen
months to return to his normal weight of 185 pounds (84 kg).
His then-girlfriend (now wife), Alexandra Jamieson, took charge of
his recovery with her "detox diet
became the basis for her book The Great American Detox
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Spurlock's second feature documentary, Where in the World is
Osama Bin Laden?
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
In the film, and in interviews, Spurlock explores the fight against
terrorism and views the argument from both sides, in which he tries
to find Osama Bin Laden
Unlike his previous documentary Super Size Me
in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
received mostly negative
Spurlock's next film will be an adaptation of the book Freakonomics
by Steven D. Levitt
and Stephen J. Dubner
. Spurlock will be helming this
project alongside of four directors (Heidi
, Rachel Grady
, Alex Gibney
Spurlock's television project since 2005 has been 30 Days
. In each episode, a person
(which in some cases, is Spurlock himself) spends 30 days immersing
themselves in a mode of life markedly different from their norm
(being in prison, a devout Christian living in a Muslim family, a
homophobe staying with a homosexual person, etc.), while Spurlock
discusses the relevant social issues involved. FX
began airing the show on June 15, 2005.
premiere episode of the first season, "Minimum Wage," Spurlock and
his fiancée lived for 30 days in the
Bottoms neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, earning minimum wage,
with no access to outside funds.
second season finale, Spurlock spent 25 days locked in a Henrico County,
Virginia (a suburb of Richmond) jail to experience life as an inmate.
did not complete the entire 30 days in jail because the majority of
inmates in the state of Virginia serve 85% of the sentence, so once
Spurlock reached that benchmark, he was released.
The third season of 30 Days
premiered on June 3, 2008.
episode of the third season, titled "Working in a Coal Mine" was
filmed in Bolt, West Virginia which is located roughly 18 miles
from the city of Beckley, West Virginia, where Spurlock was raised prior to leaving for New
In late 2008, FX announced they would not be renewing the 30 Days
series, making the third season the last.
- Spurlock optioned the rights for Chris
Mooney's book The
Republican War on Science in order to create another
documentary film, but in 2008 announced that he had released the
- Spurlock has a role in the film Drive Thru, about a fast food
restaurant that has its mascot come to life and start killing
people. It was released on DVD on May 29, 2007.
was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but was raised in Beckley, West
Virginia as a Methodist.
He went to New York
University and graduated in 1993 and was a member of the fraternity
of Phi Gamma Delta. He currently lives in New York City.
He married long-time girlfriend, vegan chef
Alexandra Jamieson, on May 3, 2006. They have a son, Laken James
Spurlock, born on December 9
. His birth is depicted in Spurlock's documentary
Where in the
World is Osama Bin Laden?
, which Spurlock dedicated to