Early lifeMichael Francis Moore was born outside Flint, Michigan, and raised in Davison, Michigan, Davison by parents Helen Veronica (''née'' Wall) (1921–2002), a secretary, and Francis Richard "Frank" Moore, (1921–2014) an automotive assembly-line worker. At that time, the city of Flint was home to many General Motors factories, where his parents and grandfather worked. His uncle LaVerne was one of the founders of the United Automobile Workers labor union and participated in the Flint sit-down strike. Moore was brought up Catholic, and has Irish, and smaller amounts of Scottish and English, ancestry.Stated on ''Finding Your Roots'', February 26, 2019 Some of his ancestors were Quakers. He attended parochial St. John's Elementary School for primary school and later attended St. Paul's Seminary in Saginaw, Michigan, for a year. He then attended Davison Community Schools#Davison High School, Davison High School, where he was active in both drama and debate, graduating in 1972. As a member of the Boy Scouts of America, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America), Eagle Scout. At the age of 18, he was elected to the Davison school board. At the time he was the youngest person elected to office in the U.S., as the minimum age to hold public office had just been lowered to 18.
JournalismMoore dropped out of the University of Michigan–Flint following his first year (where he wrote for the student newspaper ''The Michigan Times''). At 22 he founded the alternative weekly magazine ''The Flint Voice'', which soon changed its name to ''The Michigan Voice'' as it expanded to cover the entire state. Popstar Harry Chapin is credited with being the reason the magazine was able to start by performing benefit concerts and donating the money to Moore. Moore crept backstage after a concert to Chapin's dressing room and convinced him to do a concert and give the money to him. Chapin subsequently did a concert in Flint every year. In 1986, when Moore became the editor of Mother Jones (magazine), ''Mother Jones'', a liberal political magazine, ''The Michigan Voice'' was shut down by the investors and he moved to California. After four months at ''Mother Jones'', Moore was fired. Matt Labash of ''The Weekly Standard'' reported this was for refusing to print an article by Paul Berman that was critical of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, Sandinista human rights record in Nicaragua. Moore refused to run the article, believing it to be inaccurate. "The article was flatly wrong and the worst kind of patronizing bullshit. You would scarcely know from it that the United States had been at war with Nicaragua for the last five years." Moore believes that ''Mother Jones'' fired him because of the publisher's refusal to allow him to cover a story on the GM plant closings in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. He responded by putting laid-off GM worker Ben Hamper (who was also writing for the same magazine at the time) on the magazine's cover, leading to his termination. Moore sued for wrongful dismissal, and settled out of court for $58,000, providing him with seed money for his first film, ''Roger & Me''.
Directing, producing and screenwriting
''Roger & Me''The 1989 film ''Roger & Me'' was Moore's first documentary about what happened to Flint, Michigan, after General Motors Corporation, General Motors closed its factories and opened new ones in Mexico where the workers were paid lower wages. The "Roger" is Roger Smith (executive), Roger B. Smith, former CEO and President of General Motors. Harlan Jacobson, editor of ''Film Comment'' magazine, said that Moore muddled the chronology in ''Roger & Me'' to make it seem that events that took place before G.M.'s layoffs were a consequence of them. Critic Roger Ebert defended Moore's handling of the timeline as an artistic and stylistic choice that had less to do with his credibility as a filmmaker and more to do with the flexibility of film as a medium to express a satiric viewpoint.
''Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint''Moore made a follow-up 23-minute documentary film, ''Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint'', that aired on PBS in 1992. It is based on ''Roger & Me''. The film's title refers to Rhonda Britton, a Flint, Michigan resident featured in both the 1989 and 1992 films, who sells rabbits as either pets or meat.
''Canadian Bacon''Moore's 1995 satirical film ''Canadian Bacon'' features a fictional U.S. president (played by Alan Alda) engineering a fake war with Canada in order to boost his popularity. The film is also one of the last featuring Canadian-born actor John Candy. Some commentators in the media felt the film was influenced by the Stanley Kubrick film ''Dr. Strangelove.''
''The Big One''Moore's 1997 film ''The Big One (film), The Big One'' documents the tour publicizing Moore's book ''Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American'', in which he criticizes mass layoffs despite record corporate profits. Among others, he targets Nike, Inc., Nike for outsourcing shoe production to Indonesia.
''Bowling for Columbine''His documentary '' Bowling for Columbine'', released in 2002, probes the culture of Gun violence in the United States, guns and violence in the United States, taking as a starting point the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. ''Bowling for Columbine'' won the Anniversary Prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and France's César Award as the Best Foreign Film. In the United States, it won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award for Documentary Feature. It also enjoyed great commercial and critical success for a film of its type, and has since gone on to be considered one of the list of films considered the best, greatest documentary films of all-time. At the time of ''Columbine''s release, it was the highest-grossing mainstream-released documentary (a record now held by Moore's ''Fahrenheit 9/11'').
''Fahrenheit 9/11''Moore's film, ''Fahrenheit 9/11'', released in 2004, examines America in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, particularly the record of the George W. Bush Administration and alleged links between the families of George W. Bush and bin Laden family, Osama bin Laden. ''Fahrenheit'' was awarded the ''Palme d'Or'', the top honor at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival; it was the first documentary film to win the prize since 1956. Moore later announced that ''Fahrenheit 9/11'' would not be in consideration for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Academy Award for Documentary Feature, but instead for the Academy Award for Best Picture. He stated he wanted the movie to be seen by a few million more people via television broadcast prior to Election Day. According to Moore, "Academy rules forbid the airing of a documentary on television within nine months of its theatrical release", and since the November 2 election was fewer than nine months after the film's release, it would have been disqualified for the Documentary Oscar. Regardless, ''Fahrenheit'' did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The title of the film alludes to the classic book ''Fahrenheit 451'' about a future totalitarian state in which books are banned; according to the book, paper begins to burn at . The pre-release subtitle of the film confirms the allusion: "The temperature at which freedom burns." As of August 2012, ''Fahrenheit 9/11'' is the highest-grossing documentary of all time, taking in over US$200 million worldwide, including United States box office revenue of almost US$120 million. In February 2011, Moore sued producers Bob Weinstein, Bob and Harvey Weinstein for US$2.7 million in unpaid profits from the film, claiming they used "Hollywood accounting tricks" to avoid paying him the money. In February 2012, Moore and the Weinsteins informed the court that they had settled their dispute.
''Sicko''Moore directed the 2007 film, ''Sicko'', about the American health care system, focusing particularly on the managed-care and pharmaceutical industries. At least four major pharmaceutical company, pharmaceutical companies—Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Company, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline—ordered their employees not to grant any interviews or assist Moore. According to Moore in a letter on his website, "roads that often surprise us and lead us to new ideas—and challenge us to reconsider the ones we began with have caused some minor delays." The film premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2007, receiving a lengthy standing ovation, and was released in the U.S. and Canada on June 29, 2007. The film is currently ranked the tenth highest grossing documentary of all time and received an Academy Award nomination for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Feature.
''Captain Mike Across America'' and ''Slacker Uprising''Moore takes a look at the politics of college students in what he calls "Bush Administration America" with ''Captain Mike Across America'', which was shot during Moore's 62-city college campus tour in the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2007. It was later re-edited by Moore into ''Slacker Uprising'' and released for free on the internet on September 23, 2008.
''Capitalism: A Love Story''Released on September 23, 2009, ''Capitalism: A Love Story'' looks at the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the U.S. economy during the transition between the incoming Obama Administration and the outgoing Bush Administration. Addressing a press conference at its release, Moore said, "Democracy is not a spectator sport, it's a participatory event. If we don't participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy. So Obama will rise or fall based not so much on what he does but on what we do to support him."
''Where to Invade Next''''Where to Invade Next'' examines the benefits of progressive social policies in various countries. The film had its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Godfrey Cheshire III, Godfrey Cheshire, writing for Roger Ebert.com, wrote that "Moore's surprising and extraordinarily winning ''Where to Invade Next'' will almost surely cast his detractors at Fox News and similar sinkholes into consternation".
''Michael Moore in TrumpLand''In ''Michael Moore in TrumpLand'', Moore talks about the 2016 United States presidential election, 2016 Presidential Election Campaigns. It is a solo performance showing Moore on stage speaking to a seated audience. The film consists of Moore's opinions of the candidates and highlights the Democratic National Candidate Hillary Clinton's strengths and also features a lengthy section on how the Republican National Candidate Donald Trump could win. It was filmed in Wilmington, Ohio, at the Murphy Theatre over the course of two nights in October 2016. The film premiered just eleven days after it was shot at the IFC Center in New York City.
''Fahrenheit 11/9''In May 2017, it was announced that Moore had reunited with Harvey Weinstein to direct his new film about Donald Trump, titled ''Fahrenheit 11/9'', which was released in approximately 1,500 theaters in the United States and Canada on September 21, 2018. Sexual assault allegations against Weinstein prompted Moore to revoke the plan to work with The Weinstein Company, which stalled production. The title refers to the day when Donald Trump officially became President-elect of the United States. In a column for ''Variety'' responding to the film's low opening weekend, "How Michael Moore Lost His Audience", sympathetic film critic Owen Gleiberman wrote "He's like an aging rock star putting out albums that simply don't mean as much to those who were, and are, his core fans". According to Glenn Greenwald, "what he’s trying is of unparalleled importance: not to take the cheap route of exclusively denouncing Trump but to take the more complicated, challenging, and productive route of understanding who and what created the climate in which Trump could thrive."
''Planet of the Humans''Michael Moore was executive producer of the documentary, ''Planet of the Humans'', which was directed by Jeff Gibbs and released on July 31, 2019. The film makes the argument that since the first Earth Day, the condition of the planet has worsened, and questions whether mainstream approaches adopted by industry to Climate change mitigation, mitigate climate change entail environmental impacts whose costs are comparable to or even possibly outweigh the benefits. The film received criticism from a number of climate change experts and activists who disputed its claims and the accuracy of figures cited in the film and suggested that the film could play into the hands of the fossil fuel industry. Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs, and co-producer Ozzie Zehner responded to the critics on an episode of ''Rising (news show), Rising''.
WritingMoore has written and co-written eight non-fiction books, mostly on similar subject matter to his documentaries. ''Stupid White Men'' (2001) is ostensibly a critique of American domestic and foreign policy but, by Moore's own admission, is also "a book of political humor". ''Dude, Where's My Country?'' (2003), is an examination of the Bush family's relationships with House of Saud, Saudi royalty, the Bin Laden family, and the :Energy companies of the United States, energy industry, and a call-to-action for liberals in the 2004 United States presidential election, 2004 election. Several of his works have made bestseller lists.
ActingMoore has dabbled in acting, following a supporting role in ''Lucky Numbers'' (2000) playing the cousin of Lisa Kudrow's character, who agrees to be part of the scheme concocted by John Travolta's character. He also had a cameo in his ''Canadian Bacon'' as an anti-Canada activist. In 2004, he did a cameo, as a news journalist, in ''The Fever (2004 film), The Fever'', starring Vanessa Redgrave in the lead.
TelevisionBetween 1994 and 1995, he directed and hosted the BBC television series ''TV Nation'', which followed the format of news magazine shows but covered topics they avoid. The series aired on BBC Two, BBC2 in the UK. The series was also aired in the US on NBC in 1994 for 9 episodes and again for 8 episodes on Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox in 1995. His other major series was ''The Awful Truth (TV series), The Awful Truth'', which satirized actions by big corporations and politicians. It aired on the UK's Channel 4, and the Bravo (US TV channel), Bravo network in the US, in 1999 and 2000. Moore won the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award in Arts and Entertainment for being the executive producer and host of ''The Awful Truth'', where he was also described as "muckraker, author and documentary filmmaker". Another 1999 series, ''Michael Moore Live'', was aired in the UK only on Channel 4, though it was broadcast from New York. This show had a similar format to ''The Awful Truth'', but also incorporated phone-ins and a live stunt each week. In 2017, Moore planned to return to prime time network television on Turner/TNT in late 2017 or early 2018 with a program called "Michael Moore Live from the Apocalypse". In February 2019, however, the network announced the show would not be produced.
Music videosMoore has directed several music videos, including two for Rage Against the Machine for songs from ''The Battle of Los Angeles (album), The Battle of Los Angeles'': "Sleep Now in the Fire" and "Testify (Rage Against the Machine song), Testify". He was threatened with arrest during the shooting of "Sleep Now in the Fire", which was filmed on Wall Street; and subsequently the city of New York City denied the band permission to play there, even though the band and Moore had secured a federal permit to perform. Moore also directed the videos for R.E.M. single "All the Way to Reno (You're Gonna Be a Star)" in 2001 and the System of a Down song "Steal This Album!, Boom!".
Appearances in other documentaries* He appeared in ''The Drugging of Our Children'', a 2005 documentary about over-prescription of psychiatric medication to children and teenagers, directed by Gary Null, a proponent of alternative medicine. In the film Moore agrees with Gary Null that Ritalin and other similar drugs are over-prescribed, saying that they are seen as a "pacifier". * He appeared on fellow Flint natives Grand Funk Railroad's episode of ''Behind the Music''. * He appeared as an off-camera interviewer in ''Blood in the Face (1991 film), Blood in the Face'', a 1991 documentary about white supremacy groups. At the center of the film is a neo-Nazi gathering in Michigan. * Moore appeared in the 2001 documovie ''The Party's Over (2001 film), The Party's Over'' discussing Democrats and Republicans. * He appeared in ''The Yes Men (film), The Yes Men'', a 2003 documentary about two men who pose as the World Trade Organization. He appears during a segment concerning working conditions in Mexico and Latin America. * Moore was interviewed for the 2004 documentary, ''The Corporation (2003 film), The Corporation''. One of his highlighted quotes was: "The problem is the profit motive: for corporations, there's no such thing as enough." * He appeared in the 2006 documentary ''I'm Going to Tell You a Secret'', which chronicles Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention World Tour. Moore attended her show in New York City at Madison Square Garden. * He appeared briefly in the 2016 documentary ''Cameraperson'', directed by Kirsten Johnson, who was one of his camera operators in Fahrenheit 9/11
TheaterMoore's Broadway theatre, Broadway debut, ''The Terms of My Surrender'', an anti-Trump dramatic monologue, premiered on August 10, 2017 at the Belasco Theatre. Donald Trump tweeted his dislike for the show and falsely claimed that it closed early. In the first week the production earned $456,195 in sales and $367,634 in the final week, altogether grossing $4.2 million, falling short of its potential gross. It lasted 13 weeks with 96 performances until October 2017, grossing 49% of its potential. Fox News gave it a negative review, in line with Trump's comments. The show was unenthusiastically praised by The Guardian, said to "preach to the choir". The spokesman for "The Terms of My Surrender" said that the production may show in San Francisco in early 2018.
Honorary degree* He was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University in Fall 2014.
Political viewsAlthough Moore has been known for his political activism, he rejects the label as redundant in a democracy: "I and you and everyone else has to be a political activist. If we're not politically active, it ceases to be a democracy." According to John Flesher of the Associated Press, Moore is known for his "fiery left-wing populism", and publications such as the ''Socialist Worker Online'' have hailed him as the "new Thomas Paine, Tom Paine". In a speech, he said that socialism is democracy and Christianity. However, he later said that economic philosophies from the past were not apt enough to describe today's realities. Moore was a high-profile guest at both the 2004 Democratic National Convention and the 2004 Republican National Convention, chronicling his impressions in ''USA Today''. He was criticized in a speech by Republican Party (United States), Republican Senator John McCain as "a disingenuous film-maker". Moore laughed and waved as Republican attendees jeered, later chanting "four more years". Moore Loser (hand gesture), gestured an L with his index finger and thumb at the crowd, which translates into "loser". During September and October 2004, Moore spoke at universities and colleges in swing states during his "Slacker Uprising Tour". The tour gave away instant noodles, ramen and underwear to students who promised to vote. One stop during the tour was Utah Valley University, Utah Valley State College. A fight for his right to speak resulted in massive public debates and a media blitz, eventually resulting in a lawsuit against the college and the resignation of at least one member of the college's student government.''This Divided State''
Personal lifeMoore married film producer Kathleen Glynn on October 19, 1991. He filed for divorce on June 17, 2013. On July 22, 2014, the divorce was finalized. Moore was raised a Catholic but disagrees with church teaching on subjects such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In an interview with ''The A.V. Club'', when asked if there was a God, he stated, "Yes, there is. I don't know how you define that, but yeah." Following the Columbine High School massacre, Moore acquired a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Moore said that he initially intended to become the NRA's president to dismantle the organization, but he soon dismissed the plan as too difficult. Gun rights supporters such as Dave Kopel said there was no chance of that happening; David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke wrote that Moore failed to discover that the NRA selects a president not by membership vote but by a vote of the board of directors. In 2005, ''Time (magazine), Time'' named Moore one of Time 100, the world's 100 most influential people. Later in 2005, Moore founded the Traverse City Film Festival held annually in Traverse City, Michigan. In 2009, he co-founded the Traverse City Comedy Festival, also held annually in Traverse City, where Moore helped spearhead the renovation of the historic downtown State Theater.
Bibliography* * * * * * * * ** 2012 (Audible (store), Audible: 2011): ''Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life'' (audiobook, read by Michael Moore), Grand Central Publishing,
Documentary film* ''Roger & Me'' (1989) * ''Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint'' (1992) * ''The Big One (film), The Big One'' (1997) * ''And Justice for All'' (1998) * '' Bowling for Columbine'' (2002) * ''Fahrenheit 9/11'' (2004) * ''Sicko'' (2007) * ''Slacker Uprising'' (2008 – a re-edited version of ''Captain Mike Across America'', which he had released in 2007) * ''Capitalism: A Love Story'' (2009) * ''Where to Invade Next'' (2015) * ''Michael Moore in TrumpLand'' (2016) * ''Fahrenheit 11/9'' (2018) * ''Planet of the Humans'' - executive producer (2020)
Video shorts* ''Rage Against the Machine: Sleep Now in the Fire'' (2000) * ''Rage Against the Machine: Testify (Rage Against the Machine song), Testify'' (2000) * ''R.E.M.: All the Way to Reno (You're Gonna Be a Star)'' (2001) * ''In View: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003'' (2003) * ''System of a Down: Boom! (System of a Down song), Boom!'' (2003)
Narrative film* ''Canadian Bacon'' (1995)
As actor or himself:''See also :Films about Michael Moore * ''Canadian Bacon'' (1995) (cameo as gun nut) * ''EDtv'' (1999) (cameo as himself) * ''Lucky Numbers'' (2000) (as actor) * ''The Party's Over (2001 film), The Party's Over'' (2001) (documentary interview) * ''The Corporation (2003 film), The Corporation'' (2003) (documentary interview) * ''The Simpsons'': "The President Wore Pearls" (2003) (guest star) * ''The Fever (2004 film), The Fever'' (2004) (cameo as journalist) * ''BrainDead'' (2016) (cameo as himself)
Television series* ''TV Nation'' (1994) * ''The Awful Truth (TV series), The Awful Truth'' (1999) * ''Michael Moore Live'' (1999)
Podcasting* ''RUMBLE with Michael Moore'' (2019–present)
Further reading* Benson, Thomas W., and Snee, Brian J. (eds.): ''Michael Moore and the Rhetoric of Documentary''. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015. .