Louis Theroux: Biography highlights
Louis Theroux’s documentaries follow his attempts to get to know the people at the heart of some of the world’s – and especially America’s – most controversial and fascinating lifestyles.
Over more than fifteen years, using a gentle questioning style and an informal approach, he has shone light on some of the world’s most intriguing beliefs, behaviours, and institutions by getting to know the people at the heart of them – from the officers and inmates at San Quentin prison to the extreme believers of the Westboro Baptist Church; the male porn performers of the San Fernando Valley to the medical regime in one of America’s leading centres of mental health for kids. Recently he made a two-part series on Miami county jail and a special on America’s private menageries of exotic animals.
In the course of his career, Louis has scored a number of journalistic scoops. His series of celebrity profiles, When Louis Met…, took viewers inside the world of the charity fund-raising eccentric Sir Jimmy Savile; the media guru Max Clifford and his client Simon Cowell; and most famously Neil and Christine Hamilton, who found themselves the subject of rape allegations during filming and allowed Louis and his director to continue to stay with them and document the ensuing media onslaught.
Louis graduated from Oxford in 1991 and started out as a print journalist the following year, working for Metro weekly in San Jose and then in New York for Spy magazine. He got his television break from Michael Moore, who hired him as a writer and correspondent for his ground-breaking satirical show, TV Nation.
In 1995 the BBC signed Louis to a development deal. He came up with an idea for a documentary series that would follow him as he immersed himself in off-beat lifestyle, called Weird Weekends.
Over the years, Louis has kept true to a way of working that is uniquely his own: by charming his subjects, he’s able to offer rounded portraits of some of the world’s most psychologically gripping issues, while always resisting easy judgements. Louis has won two BAFTAs, an RTS award, and a Bulldog award, not to mention numerous nominations.
Louis also continues to write for print publications. In 2005 he published a travel book about a few of his adventures, The Call of the Weird.