Bruce Gowers Dies: ‘American Idol’ & Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Video Director Was 82

Bruce Gowers poses in the press room with his Emmy
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Bruce Gowers, a veteran British director who worked on American Idol from 2001 to 2010 and directed musical specials for the likes of Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones, has died. He was 82.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gowers passed away in Santa Monica, California, following complications from an acute respiratory infection, as confirmed by his family.

“[Gowers] always brought boundless enthusiasm, energy, passion and joy to his work,” his family said in a statement (via THR). “He loved and was loved by the crews that he worked with and was known far and wide for his generosity as a colleague, constantly encouraging and promoting the talented people on his team.”

Born in England on December 21, 1940, Gowers started his career in his home country, earning global recognition for directing Queen’s iconic music video for their hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Following his success in the U.K., he moved to the United States in the 1970s, where he continued to direct music videos for artists such as Rod Stewart, Bee Gees, Elton John, Van Halen, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, and many more.

Gowers also directed numerous television specials, including Eddie Murphy‘s Delirious, Jerry Seinfeld‘s 1987 HBO special, Rodney Dangerfield‘s 75th Birthday Toast, MTV Unplugged With Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones: Bridges to Babylon, Britney Spears: There’s No Place Like Home, and Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration.

In addition, he directed dozens of awards shows, including multiple editions of the MTV Video Music Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, The ESPY Awards, and the Miss America competition.

Gowers’s longest-running gig came on American Idol, where he directed 234 episodes between 2001 and 2010. His work on the reality competition series earned him an Emmy award for Oustanding Directing For a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series in 2009.

He also won a Grammy award in 1986 for directing the music video for Huey Lewis and the News’ “Heart of Rock and Roll.”

According to THR, Gowers is survived by his wife, Carol Rosenstein; his daughter, Katharine; son Sean; grandchildren Sean Jr., Robert, Charlotte, and Layla; his former wife, Charlene; and his beloved bulldogs, Baby and Rocky, and parrot, Polly.