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Bud Greenspan

Bud Greenspan
Born (1926-09-18)September 18, 1926
New York City
Died December 25, 2010(2010-12-25) (aged 84)
New York City
Residence New York City
Alma mater New York University
Known for Sports documentaries, especially Olympics
Awards Lifetime Achievement Award (Directors Guild of America and National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences), 1985 Olympic Order (International Olympic Committee)

Jonah J. "Bud" Greenspan (September 18, 1926 – December 25, 2010) was a film director, writer, and producer known for his sports documentaries. His distinctive appearance in later years included wearing his large, dark-framed glasses atop his shaved head.


  • Career 1
  • Awards and recognition 2
  • Death 3
  • Select filmography 4
  • Awards 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Greenspan was born in New York City. He overcame a lisp in adolescence and went into sports broadcasting after graduating from New York University.[1] In 1947 Greenspan became sports director at New York City's WMGM, at that time the largest sports radio station in the US, when he was 21 years old. When he left WMGM, Greenspan began contributing articles to magazines while also producing television commercials.

He dabbled in documentary filmmaking in 1952, with The Strongest Man in the World, a 15-minute feature on weightlifter John Davis, but he began his filmmaking career in earnest in 1964, accompanying Jesse Owens to West Berlin to film Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin. In 1967, he formed his own film company, Cappy Productions, Inc., with wife Cappy Petrash Greenspan (deceased 1983). After his wife's death, Greenspan ran Cappy Productions with his companion Nancy Beffa.

Several hour-long productions followed. Greenspan won his first Emmy for 1976's The Olympiad, 22-hour-long documentary specials on the Olympics (including Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin). The series was broadcast in 80 countries. In 1977, he branched into docudrama with the two-hour movie of the week biography of gold-medalist Wilma Rudolph. Wilma, starring Cicely Tyson, featured Denzel Washington in his first movie role. In 1979, he launched the first of several vignette series: This Day in Sports, which aired on CBS, featured 365 30-second film shorts highlighting exciting sports moments from years past. It was followed in 1980 by the similar Olympic Moments, Olympic Events and Olympic Vignettes.

In addition to his prolific film work, Greenspan continued working in other media. He was a contributing editor for PARADE magazine. He also authored a number of books, including several on the Olympics, a book of sports bloopers called Play It Again, Bud, and We Wuz Robbed, which addresses sports controversies. Great Moments in Sports, his first album, went gold and led him to produce 18 more spoken word albums.

Awards and recognition

Greenspan's work was recognized many times. He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the [2] cited as one of the industry's most prestigious awards.[3]

Greenspan received the Olympic Order award in 1985, at which time International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch said, "Mr. Greenspan has been called the foremost producer, writer and director of Olympic films; more than that, he is an everlasting friend of the Olympic family."[4] In 2004, Greenspan was inducted as a "Special Contributor" into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. His visual and musical The Spirit of the Olympics is on display permanently at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1994, Greenspan was inducted in the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 2006, he was given the Al Schoenfield Media Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame.


Greenspan died of Parkinson's disease on Christmas Day 2010, at the age of 84 in New York City.[5]

Select filmography

  • Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin (1968)
  • The Glory of Their Times (1971)
  • The Olympiad (1976)
  • Wilma or The Story of Wilma Rudolph (1977)
  • Sports in America (1979)
  • The Heisman Trophy Award Show (1981–1985)
  • Time Capsule: The 1932 Los Angeles Olympics (1982)
  • 16 Days of Glory/Los Angeles (1984)
  • America at the Olympics (1984)
  • Time Capsule: The 1936 Berlin Olympics (1986)
  • For the Honor of Our Country (1987)
  • 16 Days of Glory/Seoul (1988)
  • An Olympic Dream (1988)
  • The Golden Age of Sport (1988)
  • 16 Days of Glory/Calgary(1988)
  • 16 Days of Glory/Barcelona (1992)
  • Mark Spitz Returns to Munich (1992)
  • 16 Days of Glory/Lillehammer (1994)
  • Atlanta's Olympic Glory (1996)
  • 100 Years of Olympic Glory (1996)
  • America's Greatest Olympians (1996)
  • Real Athletes/Real History: History of African-Americans at the Olympics (1996)
  • Nagano '98 (1998)
  • Ageless Heroes (1998)
  • Favorite Stories of Olympic Glory (2000)
  • Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of Heavyweight Boxing (2000)
  • Sydney 2000: Gold from Down Under (2001)
  • The 1972 Munich Olympic Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers (2002)
  • Bud Greenspan Presents Michelle Kwan (2002)
  • Bud Greenspan's Stories of Winter Olympic Glory (2002)
  • Salt Lake 2002: Bud Greenspan's Stories of Olympic Glory (2003)
  • Whirlaway! (2005)
  • Bud Greenspan's Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory (2005)
  • The First Miracle: 1960 U.S. Olympic Men's ice hockey Team (2006)[6]
  • Bud Greenspan Presents: Torino 2006 Olympics (2007)
  • Beijing 2008 America's Olympic Glory (2009)[7]
  • A Time for Champions (2009)
  • Bud Greenspan Presents: Vancouver 2010 Stories of Olympic Glory (2011)



  1. ^ Kupper, Mike (December 26, 2010). Bud Greenspan, Olympic documentarian, dies at 84. Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ The Peabody Award. Peabody. (2006) Accessed July 4, 2007.
  3. ^ cf. CNN Earns Prestigious Peabody Award for Hurricane Katrina Coverage. (April 5, 2006). Accessed July 4, 2007; Univision’s Kmex-Tv Awarded Prestigious Peabody Award for “El 15% De Los Estados Unidos”. (April 5, 2006). Accessed July 4, 2007.
  4. ^ Bud Greenspan: World-Renowned Olympic Filmmaker. Nationwide Speakers. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  5. ^ "Filmmaker Bud Greenspan dies at 84". news services. December 26, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ Filmography source: Bud Greenspan Presents Pride Over Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story. CBS Express. January 26, 2007. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  7. ^ Filmography source: [1] 2009
  8. ^ "The Billie Awards". women's sports foundation. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 

External links

  • Bud Greenspan International Swimming Hall of Fame. (2006). Accessed July 4, 2007.
  • Bud Greenspan to receive lifetime achievement award. (March 23, 2006). Emmy Online. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  • Bud Greenspan at the Internet Movie Database
  • Cappy Productions Homepage
  • Greenspan, Bud. (2003) Stories That Resonate And Why I Tell Them. Sundance. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  • Speaker Biographies: Bud Greenspan. Goodman Speakers Bureau, Inc. Accessed July 4, 2007.
  • Bud Greenspan Presents Pride Over Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story. January 26, 2007. Accessed July 4, 2007.
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