A sharp-tongued British personality whose cutting but often hilariously honest comments have dashed the dreams of countless aspiring singers, Cowell was a successful music producer before being tapped in 2001 to be a judge for Pop Idol, the British reality competition that was the basis for American Idol. Since then, Cowell has practically made a career out of being disliked, as his outrageous put-downs and tempestuous relationships with host Ryan Seacrest and former judge Paula Abdul have been a large part of Idol's mass appeal. Throughout his time on Idol, Cowell also launched several reality-competition series, including American Inventor, America's Got Talent and Celebrity Duets, as well as the short-lived matchmaking series Cupid. In 2010, Cowell announced he was leaving Idol in order launch a U.S. version of the popular British singing competition The X Factor, on which he's served as a judge since 2006.
- Started out as a clerk in the mail room of EMI Music.
- Launched his own record label, Fanfare, in the 1980s and had his first hit, "So Macho," with singer Sinitta.
- Ranked No. 33 on the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate list on the UK's Channel 4 network in 2003.
- Penned the 2003 book I Don't Mean to Be Rude, But... : Backstage Gossip from American Idol and the Secrets that Can Make You a Star.
- Appeared in a 2005 PETA anti-fur ad, as well as a 2009 PETA commercial urging dog owners not to leave their pets unattended in hot cars.
- 2015, National Television Awards — TV Judge: Nominee
- 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Reality/Competition Program: Nominee
- 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Reality/Competition Program: Nominee
- 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Reality/Competition Program: Nominee
- 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Reality/Competition Program: Nominee
- 2003, Emmy — Outstanding Reality/Competition Program: Nominee
- Mezhgan Hussainy — Ex-fiancée
- Michael Cowell — Half Brother
- Nicholas Cowell — Brother
- Eric Cowell — Father
- John Cowell — Half Brother
- June Cowell — Half Sister
- Julie Cowell — Mother
- Tony Cowell — Half Brother
- Terri Seymour — Ex-significant Other
- Eric — Son
- Lauren Silverman — Significant Other
- Birth Name: Simon Phillip Cowell
- Birth Place: Brighton, England
- Birthday: October 7, 1959, Libra
- Profession: TV personality, Music producer