Simon Cowell: Snapshot

Name
Simon Cowell
Date of Birth
October 07, 1959
Birth Place
Brighton, England
Gleefully snarky Simon Cowell notes that his first insult was directed at his own mother when he was only 4: He told his mum her white pillbox hat made her look like a poodle.

After bouncing through English schools that failed to handle him, he found work in the mailroom at EMI Records, where his father was an executive. By the time Cowell was 30, he was a bigwig at BMG, later signing top talent like 5ive and Westlife to his own label, S Records.

But it was his tell-it-like-it-is role as a judge on the British reality show Pop Idol that made him a household name in the U.K. When the U.S. version, American Idol, made its debut, Cowell found an even larger audience.

After nine seasons on the ratings juggernaut, Cowell left Idol for the American version of his U.K. hit, The X Factor. In 2013, he embarked on his biggest project yet – fatherhood, welcoming son Eric with girlfriend Lauren Silverman.

Simon Cowell: Five Fun Facts

  1. Simon Cowell once wrote a check on the spot for $19,000 for a Barbados animal refuge, while vacationing on the island.
  2. If he had the chance to invite six people, living or dead, to dinner, Simon Cowell would choose Bill Clinton (whose autobiography sits on his bookshelf), Natalie Wood and Frank Sinatra; then he'd tell Frank to pick the other three.
  3. Simon Cowell loves cars and has a Ferrari, Bentley, Mini Cooper and a Rolls Royce Phantom.
  4. Simon Cowell told Esquire that Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" is one of the greatest pop records of all time.
  5. In London at Madame Tussauds wax museum, Simon Cowell's likeness takes a step closer to reality by hurling insults at museum visitors: "That was extraordinary," the figure says. "Unfortunately, extraordinarily bad."

Simon Cowell: Biography

1966

Simon Cowell

Getting the Boot

At 17, Cowell is booted out of a series of schools due to bad behavior, and eventually drops out. "The two things I hated about school were the discipline and boredom...I just had this sneaking suspicion that learning about Newton's theory wasn't actually going to play a huge part in my future," Cowell writes in his 2003 memoir, I Don't Mean to be Rude, But... "I think it's fair to say that I was the world's worst teenager."

1979

The Ground Floor

Cowell has interests in film, music and television, and sabotages a list of interviews for "boring" jobs (law clerk, supermarket manager trainee, building surveyor) set up by his real estate executive father Eric. However, Cowell eventually lands a job that suits his interests, working as a runner for producers at Elstree Studios. After turning down an offer to work on the set of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Cowell takes a gig in the mailroom of EMI Music Publishing, where his father manages the property division. "From my first day on the job I began planning and scheming my way to the top of the business," Cowell writes in his memoir.

1985

Simon Cowell

An Impresario

After years of moving up the music-industry ladder to become a producer and A&R (artist and repertoire) man, Cowell strikes out on his own by setting up Fanfare Records. He signs his then-girlfriend Sinitta and scores the smash hits "So Macho" and "Toyboy." He also releases the Power Rangers theme single, and later fails to land the Spice Girls.

Read More on Simon Cowell's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Colin Bell/Corbis Outline

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Steve Finn/Alpha

Edited by Julia Wang

Simon Cowell

Celebrity Central / Top 25 Celebs

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