Simon Cowell (born 7.10.1959)
Simon Cowell is an English music management executive, as well as a television presenter, best known for judging shows such as American Idol, The X Factor and Pop Idol.
Childhood: Simon Cowell was born in Brighton and raised in Elstree, Hertfordshire. His work in the music industry was kick-started by his father, Eric, who was a music industry executive, as well as an estate agent. His mother, Julie, was a ballet dancer.
After leaving Dover College before sixth form, Cowell had a number of casual jobs but failed to settle in any of them. Eventually, his father got him a job at the mailroom at EMI Music Publishing.
Early Career: Simon Cowell utilized his father's influence to work his way up in the music industry, eventually forming E&S Music with Ellis Rich, boss of EMI. E&S had a number of hit singles in the UK.
Cowell went on to work with Fanfare Records, who released Sinitta's debut single 'So Macho', which sold over half a million copies, as did her album Rondo Veneziano. Fanfare also forged a lucrative relationship with Stock Aitken and Waterman, the legendary pop producers of the 1980s. When Fanfare experienced financial difficulties in 1989, Cowell was in debt and forced to move back in with his parents.
Climbing his way back to success, Simon signed a number of high profile acts to S-Records, including Five, Westlife, Sonia and Curiosity Killed The Cat. He was also responsible for the release of a number of novelty songs by acts such as the Teletubbies, Zig and Zag and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. In 2002, he set up Syco Records, which is home to artists such as Il Divo and Leona Lewis.
In 2004, Cowell formed the operatic pop group Il Divo who went on to be a huge success. He followed this by creating a child version of the group, named Angelis.
TV Judge: Simon Cowell was signed up as a judge on the first series of Pop Idol, in 2001. The next year, he was also signed up to judge American Idol. He is renowned for his harsh comments towards contestants and often gets booed by the live audiences on the shows.
2004 saw the first series of The X Factor shown on ITV. The show has been the subject of much tabloid gossip, with judge Louis Walsh being fired from the show and re-hired for the fourth series. There has also been tension between Sharon Osbourne and Danni Minogue. Osbourne has been replaced in the sixth series by Cheryl Cole of Girls Aloud.
In 2006, Simon Cowell masterminded the US TV show American Inventor.
The American NBC network showed America's Got Talent, gaining around 12 million viewers. The British version, with Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan on the panel, debuted in 2007.
The ITV show Grease Is the Word also has Simon Cowell on board as an executive producer. The show aimed to find the next actors to play Sandy and Denny in the West End production of Grease.
Other Ventures: Cowell's autobiography, I Don't Mean To Be Rude, But. was published in 2003.
Simon's voice has been used in a number of cartoons, including The Simpsons, Family Guy and Shrek 2.
Personal Life: Simon Cowell began dating Terri Seymour in 2002. In 2006, it was rumoured that he was also dating the model Jasmine Lennard, but both Cowell and Lennard deny the claims.
It has been reported that Simon Cowell earns over £54 million per annum.
Biography by Contactmusic.com