Date of Birth: October 7, 1959
Before you knew Simon Cowell as the harsh, matter-of-fact judge on multiple hit TV shows, he was already a critical child — giving criticism for the first time at the age of four. He recounts this in his book: I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But..., about the time he bluntly told his mother Julie Cowell, a ballet dancer, that she looked like a poodle wearing her white, fuzzy pillbox hat.
Simon was born in Lambeth, London and brought up in Elstree, Hertfordshire by his mother and father Eric Selig Phillip Cowell, a music industry executive. He attended school at Dover College, but dropped out at the age of 16, and proceeded to work briefly at several jobs such as a quantity surveyor, a waiter and a trainee law clerk. He was even given the chance to work as a runner on Stanley Kubrick's movie The Shining, but could not get along with his colleagues due to his short temper and arrogance.
Simon finally accepted a job as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing, which his father, who ran the property division of EMI, helped him land. Simon worked his way up the ladder and in 1979, became an assistant to A&R executive Ellis Rich. He was later promoted to talent scout, but left EMI in the early 1980s in order to form E&S Music with Rich.
The company enjoyed success with several hits, but Simon didn't stay with the company for long. In 1985, he formed the independent label Fanfare Records. However, the company was struggling by 1989, and due to financial problems, Simon was forced to move back in with his family.
Simon then joined BMG as an A&R consultant and managed to sign a number of successful acts for the company. He sold more than 150 million records and had 70 top-charting singles in the UK and United States before becoming a judge on the hit British show Pop Idol (starting in 2001) as well as its American counterpart, American Idol (starting in 2002).
During his 10 seasons as judge on American Idol, he was notorious for his sarcasm and blunt, scathing remarks that sometimes left contestants in tears. However, that may have been a huge part of the success of American Idol, as it drew in a record number of viewers for Fox and produced a number of hit recording artists, including Kelly Clarkson (2002), Fantasia Barrino (2004), Jennifer Hudson (2004), Carrie Underwood (2005), Taylor Hicks (2006), Jordin Sparks (2007) and David Cook (2008).
The show didn't do as well after 2010, when Simon Cowell left to import his hit British talent search series The X Factor to America. Throughout his career, Simon has received much recognition in the media, including being named one of the top entertainers of the year in 2004 by Entertainment Weekly; being named Variety's UK Personality of the Year in 2006; earning the No. 3 slot on the Forbes TV Faces List in 2007, and No. 21 on Forbes' Celebrity 100 Power List. The Sunday Times Rich List also named him one of the wealthiest people in the UK, worth £325 million in 2015, with his reported annual salary estimated at $95 million.
In his personal life, Simon has been romantically linked to several women. In early 2010, he announced he was engaged to Idol makeup artist Mezghan Hussainy, but the couple broke off their engagement in 2012. In December of the same year, Simon confirmed he was dating actress and model Carmen Electra, but the relationship only lasted a few months, and the two separated in early 2013.
Back in 2009, Simon revealed he had no intention of having children. Despite this, in July 2013, Simon revealed he was expecting his first child with New York socialite Lauren Silverman — who was still married to Simon's close friend Andrew Silverman at the time. After the affair was revealed to the public, Lauren separated from her husband and took her relationship with Simon into the open.
Their son Eric was born on February 14, 2014. They are still currently in a relationship and are raising their son together. Despite his previous view on fatherhood, Simon has said, "I’m proud to be a dad."
Since 2006, Simon has been an executive producer on the hit talent search series America’s Got Talent. In 2016, he replaced Howard Stern as one of the judges on the show, and appears to be more warm and kind since the birth of his son.
Filmography:Scary Movie 3 (2003)