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Passings: Bud Greenspan, Sports Documentarian, Dies at 84

By Tom White

Bud Greenspan, whose award-winning documentaries on the Winter and Summer Olympic Games made him synonymous with that quadrennial event, passed away December 25 at his home in New York City. He was 84 and had been struggling with Parkinson's Disease.

According to an obituary in The New York Times, Greenspan sold his first documentary, a short about a Gold Medal-winning African-American weightlifter entitled The Strongest Man in the World, to the United States Information Agency. While making commercials for an advertising agency in the 1950s and '60s, he worked on a 22-hour series called The Olympiad, which came out in 1976. He subsequently made 13 films about the Olympics--10 in an official capacity, and the other three as an independent.

Sixteen Days of Glory, his film about the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, was among the first IDA Award winners. His final film, about the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, will be released this year.

Here's an essay that Greenspan wrote for the  July-August 2001 Documentary, on Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia.


Thomas White is editor of Documentary.