Born In: Lambeth, London, England
Simon Cowell is an English television personality and entrepreneur. He became famous as a judge on various talent shows like Pop Idol, American Idol, and The X Factor. He is famous, or rather notorious, for his biting and sarcastic remarks on contestants’ performances in reality shows. A wealthy entrepreneur, he is the founder of the television and music production house, Syco, which produced the highly successful Got Talent franchise in the U.S. and the U.K. As a youngster, he was thrown out of several schools due to his bad behavior. He attended college, but dropped out before completing his degree. Concerned about his future, his father arranged various job interviews for him which he deliberately sabotaged. He even got a chance to work as a runner on Stanley Kubrick's movie The Shining, but faced problems with his colleagues due to his ill-temper. His father got him a job with EMI Music Publishing where he rose to the position of an Artists and Repertoire (A&R) man. He was chosen to judge the British music television show Pop Idol along with Neil Fox and Nicki Chapman. He was noticed by the public for being the rudest and insensitive judge who did not think twice before passing bitter and insulting comments to the participants—a reputation that only got stronger as he moved on to judge other talent shows. He has also signed many popular bands like Westlife, One Direction, and CNCO.
Also Known As: Simon Phillip Cowell
father: Eric Selig Phillip Cowell
mother: Julie Brett
siblings: John Cowell, June Cowell, Michael Cowell, Nicholas Cowell, Tony Cowell
children: Eric Cowell
Partner: Lauren Silverman (2013–)
Born Country: England
City: London, England
Notable Alumni: Dover College
education: Dover College
Simon Cowell was born on 7 October 1959, in Lambeth, London, England, to Eric Philip Cowell and Julie Brett. His father was an estate agent and music industry executive, while his mother was a ballet dancer. He is of mixed ancestry, and has one brother and several half-siblings.
He attended Radlett Preparatory School, but did not like the rules and regulations of the school and was frequently reprimanded for bad behavior.
He went to Dover College, but dropped out before completing his education. He had interests in films and music, but not in academics.
He did several menial jobs after dropping out. His father arranged for him several interviews for various jobs, but Cowell found those jobs boring. He got an opportunity to work as a runner on the sets of the movie The Shining, but he quit as he could not get along with other staff members.
He finally landed a job as a mail room clerk at EMI Music Publishing with the help of his father. His interest in music and television enabled him to move up the ladder and he became an assistant to an A & R executive in 1979.
He left the company in the early 1980s and formed E&S Music in collaboration with his former boss. However, the company did not last long.
In 1985, he formed Fanfare Records with his partner Iain Burton. The company produced hits like So Macho and Toy Boy and enjoyed short term success. However, the company was shut in 1989, forcing Cowell to move in with his parents.
He was offered the position of an A&R consultant by BMG in 1989. His responsibility was to scout for talent and find new artists for the company. He did well and introduced artists like Robson & Jerome to the music industry.
He was selected to serve as one of the judges in Pop Idol, a British television music competition show on ITV in 2001. The show ran till 2003. He soon became notorious for his blunt and often rude criticisms aimed at the contestants.
In 2002, he founded Syco Entertainment, a global joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment. The company deals with music, television, and digital content, and is the producer of The X Factor and Got Talent franchises.
He created a music competition titled The X Factor in 2004. The original U.K version of the show was so successful that it was adapted into numerous versions around the world.
Inspired by the immense popularity of the competitions, Cowell designed a competition format that was open not only to the singers but also to other performers like instrumentalists, comedians, magicians, etc. Thus, the Got Talent franchise was born and America’s Got Talent debuted in 2006.
Over the years, he has produced and co-produced several other shows like American Inventor (2006), Rock Rivals (2008), and Red or Black? (2011).
In partnership with YouTube, Cowell launched a video-sharing competition called The You Generation in 2013.
In 2018, it was announced that Cowell had created his first BBC show titled The Greatest Dancer, which debuted in January 2019.
He is well-known for being a brutally honest judge in reality television shows, such as Pop Idol, American Idol, and The X Factor. During the shows, Cowell comments on the participants’ performances and abilities in an insulting and scathing manner.
He created the highly successful television show franchises The X Factor and Got Talent which became so popular in the U.S. and the U.K. that it led to spin-offs in several other countries all over the world.
He was honored with the Special Recognition Award at the 14th National Television Awards, U.K., in 2008.
He won the BAFTA Special Award in 2010 for his outstanding contribution to the television industry and commitment to new talent.
Simon Cowell has been linked with many women in the past, including Sinitta and Danni Minogue. He dated Terri Seymour from 2002 to 2008. He was engaged to Mezhgan Hussainy from 2010 to 2011.
He supports various charities that work with underprivileged children. He is involved with an association of Children’s Hospices and has also appeared in a PETA video.
Cowell began dating Lauren Silverman in 2013. In July 2013, Silverman's husband and Cowell's friend, Andrew Silverman, filed for an at-fault divorce, mentioning adultery by his wife and naming Cowell as a co-respondent. On February 14, 2014, Cowell and Lauren welcomed their son Eric. In January 2022, Simon Cowell got engaged to Lauren Silverman.
He released his memoir I Don’t Mean to be Rude, But… in 2003.
He lent his voice to two episodes of The Simpsons.
In 2004 and 2010, he was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people.
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