Bruce Gowers, the Emmy Award-winning director of “American Idol: The Search for a Superstar” and the original video for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” died Jan. 15 at his Santa Monica home of an acute respiratory infection, according to family members. He was 82.
Between 2002 and 2011, Gowers directed 234 episodes of “American Idol” over eight seasons, earning five Grammy nominations and one win in 2009 for Outstanding Directing in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Series.
Gowers was previously nominated for the same Emmy Award in 1998 for her work on the TV special “Fleetwood Mac: The Dance.” In 1985, he also shared a nomination with the editors of “The Fifth International Guinness Book of World Records” for Outstanding Videotape Editing for a Limited Series or Special.
Born in New Kilbride, Scotland, Gowers began his career across the Atlantic, where he studied at the BBC Training College in London. Eventually, Gowers took on staff production and management positions at networks such as Rediffusion and London Weekend Television.
His family noted that Gowers was “happiest in the control room”, which he often occupied as director of television programming and music videos.
In 1975, Gowers suddenly gained critical acclaim after serving as director on the legendary music video for Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” In the following decades, Gowers saw an influx of opportunities to work alongside artists such as The Rolling Stones, 10cc, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees, Alice Cooper, Journey, Supertramp, Michael Jackson, Rush, Santana, Prince, REO Speedwagon, Toto. , John Mellencamp and more.
Later in the 70s, Gowers relocated to California, where he continued to host and produce major awards shows such as the Primetime Emmy Awards, The Billboard Awards, and The MTV Awards.
Gowers was awarded his own MTV Award for his work on “Bohemian Rhapsody” and received an award from the Directors Guild of America in 2004 for “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles.” The seasoned filmmaker also received a Grammy in 1986 for directing the long-form music video “The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll” with Huey Lewis and The News.
The “American Idol” veteran is survived by his wife, Carol Rosenstein; his daughter, Catherine Polk; his son, Sean Gowers and his four grandchildren: Sean Jr., Robert, Charlotte and Layla.
Gower’s family is accepting donations in the filmmaker’s name to World Central Kitchen and Southern California Bulldog Rescue.