Victoria Beckham, Prince Charles, Jimmy Iovine Pay Tribute to ‘American Idol’ Creator Simon Fuller
His friends describe him as "thoughtful," "strategic," "visionary" and "magnetic." But when pressed, even people who have known Simon Fuller for decades confess that the quiet-spoken enigma is nearly impossible to pin down. "I've worked with him for longer than I care to mention," says one person with whom Fuller has done deals. "But I can't say honestly that I know him." The 51-year-old Briton has proved to be the master puppeteer of our times, confidently reinventing the zeitgeist again and again. Starting his career at Chrysalis Records in the mid-'80s, Fuller discovered musician-composer Paul Hardcastle and formed the management firm 19 Entertainment. Over two roller-coaster decades, he went from building the pop act Spice Girls to launching the television show S Club 7 to creating Pop Idol and So You Think You Can Dance before selling the business to CKx Inc. in 2005 and launching XIX Entertainment. Meanwhile, he has represented clients ranging from fashion designers to race car drivers, and his newest venture is the Latin American music talent competition Q'Viva with Jennifer Lopez and her husband Marc Anthony (still being shopped). Fuller's estimated worth is a cool $570 million, a moguldom matched only by his very unmogul-like avoidance of the limelight. An inner circle of friends and colleagues has allowed him to perfectly meld the personal and professional -- tweaks for a new show might be ironed out over dinner at his home in the south of France -- and colleagues routinely become part of the family. On the eve of his May 23 star ceremony, his pals offered these toasts to Fuller.
Composer and musician
"Simon is a special person; we first worked together in the 1980s when he was starting his business; he named the company after my song "19." It was great to have someone so young and energetic pushing the business side of it. He's unusual in his approach because he always thinks through what he's doing and is very logical and strategic. He's good at giving his artists the confidence and freedom to follow their own instincts. He's supported me all the way, and the record went to No.1 in the States and the U.K., so it really started both our careers off with a bang. He fully deserves the recognition he's getting in America, even though I know he'll be slightly embarrassed by it."
Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group
"I met Simon for the first time in 1981 at a Stray Cats gig in London. Simon had already earned a reputation for being a competitor. We were both talent scouts at the time, and what became immediately apparent was that we both shared a real passion for discovering and nurturing great talent -- and making deals. The quality and ingenuity of the events that Simon has created with the Spice Girls and American Idol have defined not only the audio soundtrack of people's lives but the visual one as well. He's a creative pioneer."