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Simon Cowell is a record producer and television personality known for his scathing critical remarks as a judge on the television show, "American Idol."
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Born Simon Phillip Cowell on October 7, 1959 in London, England, Simon Cowell started in the mailroom at EMI Music Publishing. He worked as a record producer, talent scout and consultant within the music industry before producing the hit British TV show Pop Idol and its U.S. counterpart, American Idol. Cowell's scathing comments were famous during his ten seasons as a judge on American Idol. He started judging The X Factor in 2011.
"In TV, film and music there's a lot of snobbery, and I don't like it. If I don't like French food, that doesn't make me a lesser person."
Simon Phillip Cowell was born on October 7, 1959 in London, England. His father, Eric Philip Cowell, was an estate agent developer and music industry executive. His mother, Julie Brett, was a former ballet dancer and socialite.
Cowell attended school at Dover College, but dropped out at 16. He floated in and out of jobs, sabotaging several interviews for jobs set up by his father. He finally landed a job at his father's company as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing. He managed to earn a position as an assistant to an A&R executive at EMI in 1979, where he was promoted and given the job of talent scout. Cowell left EMI during the early 1980s to form E&S Music with his boss at EMI, Ellis Rich.
The company created several hits, but Cowell left by mutual agreement a few years later. In 1985, he and a partner formed the independent label Fanfare Records, which enjoyed short-lived success. The company folded in 1989. In financial straits, Cowell was forced to move back in with his family.
Undeterred, Cowell signed on as a consultant with BMG Records later that same year. He moved back into his own place, and gradually climbed the corporate ladder at BMG. He managed to sign a string of successful acts for the company, selling more than 150 million records and 70 top-charting singles in the UK and United States.
In 2001, Cowell teamed up with Simon Fuller to produce a show in which the public chooses Britain's next big music performance star. The show, Pop Idol, debuted in the UK and promised a BMG record deal to the winner. With Cowell as a judge notorious for reducing contestants to tears, the show was an instant success, drawing more than 10,000 would-be stars to audition for the show.
The American version, American Idol, debuted in 2002, with Cowell once again judging alongside singer Paula Abdul and producer Randy Jackson. The show drew in a record number of viewers for Fox, in addition to producing pop stars Kelly Clarkson (2002), Ruben Studdard (2003) and Clay Aiken (2003), Fantasia Barrino (2004), Jennifer Hudson (2004), Carrie Underwood (2005), Taylor Hicks (2006), Jordin Sparks (2007), and most recently David Cook (2008) and David Archuleta (2008).
Cowell has become known for combining his music and television interests. He set up another company, SYCOtv, in 2002. The company created the television shows American Inventor, America's Got Talent, and X-Factor. The group also produces records for many of the performers on Cowell's shows including albums for Leona Lewis and Il Divo.
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