Simon Phillip Cowell (born 7 October 1959) is an English reality television judge and producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is most recognised as a judge on the British TV talent competition series Pop Idol, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent, and the American TV talent competition shows American Idol, The X Factor, and America’s Got Talent. Cowell is the principal founder and chief executive of the British entertainment company Syco.
As a judge, Cowell often makes blunt and controversial comments, including insults and wisecracks about contestants and their singing abilities. He combines activities in both the television and music industries. Cowell has produced and promoted singles and albums for various singers that he has taken under his wing. He is currently appearing on the eleventh Series of Britain’s Got Talent and, recently, the thirteenth series of UK’s The X Factor along with the eleventh series of America’s Got Talent.
In the early 1980s, he left EMI to form E&S Music with his former boss at EMI, but quit in 1983. He then formed Fanfare Records with Iain Burton, initially selling exercise videos, and music from acts such as the Italian orchestra Rondò Veneziano. He had his first hit song in 1986 with “So Macho” by Sinitta, success also came through Stock Aitken Waterman who produced a number of hits in the 1980s. However, in 1989, the company went under and he nearly became bankrupt.
He then found a job with BMG as an A&R consultant, and set up S Records under BMG. He restarted his career in the music business by creating novelty records with acts such as the puppets Zig and Zag, Power Rangers, and World Wrestling Federation. In 1995, through his persistence, he persuaded two actors, Robson Green and Jerome Flynn from the UK television drama series Soldier Soldier, to sign with him and record the song “Unchained Melody” that they had performed in the show. The recording by the duo, now named Robson & Jerome, quickly reached number 1 in the UK, staying at the top of the chart for seven weeks. It became the bestselling single of 1995, and their self-titled album released later in the year also became the best-selling album of 1995. They would release a further album and 2 more singles before quitting, selling 7 million albums and 5 million singles in total. According to Cowell, they made him his first million. Later acts he signed included Five, Westlife and Teletubbies.
Born: October 7, 1959 (age 57), Lambeth, London, United Kingdom
Height: 5′ 9″
Net worth: £325 million (March 2015)
Partner: Lauren Silverman (2013–)
Children: Eric Cowell