Oct 7, 1959 Simon Cowell born in London, England. Cowell started his career in the music industry working in the mailroom at EMI Music Publishing. He worked as a record producer, talent scout and consultant within the music industry before producing the hit British TV show Pop Idol and its U.S. counterpart, American Idol. Cowell's scathing comments were famous during his 10 seasons as a judge on American Idol. He started judging The X Factor in 2011.