September 24, 1946
Decatur, Indiana, United States
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This Emmy-winning TV producer-director ("Hill Street Blues") has also had considerable experience helming TV commercials and series ("St. Elsewhere," "Miami Vice") and subsequently feature films. Anspaugh began shooting 16mm sports films while at The University of Indiana before attending USC's School of Film and Television. After four years teaching high school in Colorado, he started his TV career as associate producer on the ABC movies "Vampire" (1979) and "Fighting Back" (1980), both produced by MTM. He went on to become associate producer on that company's acclaimed cop show "Hill Street Blues" (NBC) in 1981; by the time he left the show in 1985, Anspaugh had worked his way up to producer and director, winning producing Emmys in 1982 and 1983. Anspaugh returned to directing with episodes of "St. Elsewhere" and "Miami Vice," and the TV-movies "The Last Leaf" (syndicated, 1984), "Deadly Care" (CBS, 1987) and "In the Company of Darkness" (CBS, 1993).Anspaugh made a smooth, engaging big screen directing debut with "Hoosiers" (1986), a nostalgic college basketball drama starring Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper. His follow-up feature, the little-seen "Fresh Horses" (1988), was less impressive, but five years later he re-teamed with the writer of "Hoosiers" and ventured back to collegiate sagas with "Rudy" (1993), a deliberately modest but appealing true story of a college student who overcomes his short stature to become a successful quarterback for Notre Dame. A sharp change of pace was "Moonlight and Valentino" (1995), which the director laughingly called "an estrogen-driven" film, as opposed to his former sports-related "testosterone films." Scripted by Ellen Simon and based on her own experiences, "Moonlight and Valentino" focused on a woman coping with her new status as a widow. His feature output was slowed in the late 90s due in part to a highly publicized battle with depression which was reportedly a factor in the break-up of his marriage to actress Roma Downey.