When the world thinks of the Olympic Games and sports hero’s documentaries, it thinks of Bud Greenspan and Cappy Productions. Bud and his wife, Cappy Petrash Greenspan, who died in 1983, built Cappy Productions into one of the most respected, independent production companies in the world, now operating in its fourth decade.
Bud has been called the foremost writer/producer/director of sports films and one of the world’s leading sports historians. His numerous Awards include seven Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award for Life Time Achievement, the Directors Guild of America Life Achievement Award and the coveted Olympic Order presented by International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch for his contribution to furthering the Olympic movement.
Bud began his career as a sports broadcaster. At 21 he became Sports Director of radio station WMGM in New York City, then the largest sports station in the country. Greenspan broadcast such programs as Warm-up Time and Sports Extra, the pre- and post-game coverage of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also broadcast play by play and “color” for hockey, basketball, track and tennis from Madison Square Garden.
After leaving WMGM, Greenspan turned to magazine writing. Since then, he has sold hundreds of fiction and non-fiction articles to major publications in the United States and abroad. Prior to forming his own film company in 1967, Greenspan produced television commercials in New York City.
Greenspan’s most recent works include The First Miracle (2006), the story of the 1960 Gold Medal winning ice hockey team from Squaw Valley and Whirlaway (2005), celebrating the chestnut colt and fifth-winner of horse racing’s triple crown; Bud Greenspan Remembers: 1984 LA Olympics (2004); Pound for Pound (2004) and the Barrier Breakers, which includes Gertrude Ederle’s 1926 swim across the English Channel (2004). He is currently working on a documentary about black baseball legend, Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the American League in 1947.
Greenspan’s first eight Official Olympic films feature stories from the 2004 Athens, 2000 Sydney, 1996 Atlanta, and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games and the 2006 Turin, the 2002 Salt Lake City, 1998 Nagano, 1994 Lillehammer and 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games.
Greenspan’s trademark is the intimate storytelling that is universally understood and appreciated; his storytelling transcends culture. His ability to discover the little-known story has touched and inspired people around the world including many Olympic Champions.
Among his documentaries of athletes in the aquatic disciplines include swimmers Murray Rose (AUS), Lance Larson (USA), Pablo Morales (USA), Michael Gross (GER), Janet Evans (USA), Shane Gould (AUS), John Naber (USA), Dawn Fraser (AUS), Gary Hall Jr. (USA), Ian Thorpe (AUS), Rowdy Gaines (USA), Michele Smith (IRL),and Mark Spitz (USA) and divers Sammy Lee (USA), Pat McCormick (USA), Klaus Dibiasi (ITA), and Greg Louganis (USA).
Bud Greenspan’s other films include the 1972 Munich Olympic Games: Bud Greenspan Remembers (2003), Bud Greenspan’s Favorite stories of Winter Olympic Glory (2002), Bud Greenspan’s Favorite stories of Olympic Glory (2000); Kings of the Ring: Four Legends of the Heavyweight Boxing (2000) and Ageless Heroes (1998) a PBS film which cel-ebrates the continued vibrancy of people over the age of 65.
In 1996, Bud Greenspan continued to document the Olympic saga producing two highly acclaimed television specials celebrating the centennial of the Modern Olympic Games that aired on TBS: 100 Years of Olympic Glory (1996), a three-hour film exploiting great international stories of the Olympic Games, and America’s Greatest Olympians (1996), two-hours that chronicles the inspiring stories of American Olympic Athletes. In 1992 and in 1988, the International Olympic Committee com-missioned Bud to produce two films celebrating those Olympics; 16 Days of Glory/Barcelona (1992) and 16 Days of Glory/Seoul (1988).
Other Olympic films include Triumph and Tragedy: The 1972 Munich Olympics (1992) televised worldwide in the summer of 1992, and The Measure of Greatness (1992), the history of timing at the Olympic Games. Greenspan also produced a 36-monitor multiscreen visual and musical tribute to the Olympic Games titled The Spirit of the Olympics (1993) that is on permanent display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Before the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Greenspan wrote, produced and directed a one-hour television special, An Olympic Dream (1988), which featured the lives of teenage athletes from different parts of the world as they trained for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Other specials include The Golden Age of Sport (1988), Time Capsule: The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games (1986), America at the Olympics (1984), Time Capsule: The Los Angeles Olympics Games of 1932 (1982) and The Heisman Trophy Award Specials from 1981 to 1985.
Greenspan has won widespread recognition in a variety of television formats. The Numero Uno (1982) series first aired nationally on PBS features legendary sports champions from thirteen different countries.
This Day in Sports (1979), 20-second features that highlight the most thrilling sports events for each day of the year, was broadcast on CBS, Winter Olympic Vignettes (1980) for ABC-TV’s coverage of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and Sports in America (1979), based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner, James Michener broadcast nationally on PBS.
In addition to his award-winning films, Greenspan is a Contributing Editor for PARADE magazine, for which he writes the popular Olympic Preview issue. Greenspan has also written several books including three on the Olympics; 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History, The Olympian’s Guide to Winning the Game of Life, and Frozen in Time: The Greatest Moments at the Winter Olympics. Two others, Play it Again, Bud and We Wuz Robbed, deal with famous controversies in the field of sports.
His first spoken-word record album, Great Moments in Sport, earned Greenspan a Gold Record. It was followed by 18 more spoken-word albums, including Witness (the Army/McCarthy hearings) , Voices of the 20th Century, The Nuremberg War Crime Trials, The Day FDR Died, Madison Square Garden and December 7,1941- the last, an album he produced in association with the New York Times.