Rupert Murdoch: 5 Portrayals of the Media Mogul in Popular Culture (Video)
THR highlights television and movie depictions of the News Corp mogul over the past few decades.
The Internet was abuzz Thursday, June 13, when media mogul Rupert Murdoch filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years, Wendi Deng, who is 38 years his junior.
A sealed document within the filing revealed that their marriage "has broken down irretrievably," according to the Associated Press. The couple, who have two children together, reportedly have been living separate lives for at least six months.
Murdoch, whose conglomerate is in the midst of splitting into 21st Century Fox and a new News Corp, has been a fixture in entertainment -- be it on popular television series, in movies and even in novels. The semi-regular tweeter, who has more than 444,000 followers, sometimes has dominated headlines with his frank remarks on the micro-blogging site.
THR highlights five portrayals of Murdoch in popular culture:
The Simpsons (1999, 2005)
Murdoch has made a few cameos on Fox's The Simpsons, his first appearance being in 1999's "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday." In the season 10 episode, which aired following Super Bowl XXXIII, Murdoch's animated self -- voiced by Murdoch himself -- was seen confronting Homer Simpson after he somehow made his way to his private box before they left the football stadium. According to Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Murdoch went so far as to pen his introduction: "I'm Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant, and this is my skybox." In his second cameo during 2010's "Judge Me Tender," after Moe is banned from judging American Idol and watching Fox, patrons at his bar increase -- and one of them is Murdoch, who asks for the TV channel to be changed to the now-departed The Jay Leno Show on rival network NBC. In another episode of The Simpsons, Mr. Burns -- who may be patterned after Murdoch -- is seen opining that one can't possibly control all the media, "unless, of course, you're Rupert Murdoch. He is one beautiful man."
A Bit of Fry & Laurie (1995)
British personalities Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie offered their comedic take on how much Murdoch has influenced the industry in a mid-1990s sketch on their comedy show, A Bit of Fry & Laurie. In a five-minute, black-and-white It's a Wonderful Life–esque parody that explored what the world would be like if Murdoch hadn't been born, Laurie assumed the role of Murdoch -- complete with an Australian accent -- while his counterpart Fry played Clarence Odbody (aka Clarence the Angel from It's a Wonderful Life). The five-minute spoof had Murdoch realizing that a world without him ever being alive meant things like no satellite dishes and "niceness being up 40 percent."
Saturday Night Live (2012)
NBC's late-night sketch show took a jab at Fox News Channel and Murdoch in a Fox and Friends parody, following news of the phone-hacking scandal that dominated headlines across the globe. Saturday Night Live castmember Fred Armisen took on the role of Murdoch in the sketch, complete with a lazy Aussie drawl. The sketch has the morning show hosts questioning the negativity surrounding the phone-hacking scandal, and when Murdoch says he's being investigated for "lack of ethics," to say the trio of hosts misunderstand his meaning is an understatement. "You're the dumbest people I've ever met and I'm from Australia!" Murdoch goes on to make a dig at the Fox and Friends hosts, but they're too busy to notice.
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)
There have been several documentaries centered on Murdoch, who was often dubbed the most powerful person in Britain. One of those is 2004's 80-minute documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald that criticizes Murdoch and his conservative practices with news channel Fox News. The film claims that Murdoch utilizes Fox News to communicate right-wing stances. Other documentaries centered on Murdoch include Rupert Murdoch: Breaking the Spell, which aired on the BBC following the phone-hacking scandal, and ITV's "definitive" look, Murdoch.
Black and White (2002)
Murdoch has never really been at the center of a feature film, but that could change in the coming years. In 2002's Australian drama Black and White, a young Murdoch (played by actor Ben Mendelsohn) -- then a publisher of The News -- is depicted in the movie as being a force behind the public swell of support to save the life of Max Stuart, an aboriginal man sentenced to death for the supposed murder of a young girl.