An award-winning screenwriter and producer of the beloved, inspirational sports dramas “Hoosiers”, (the Oscar®-nominated 1986 small-town basketball story based on the 1954 Milan High School state championship contest) and “Rudy” (his 1993 story of a Notre Dame student, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who, despite setbacks, harbored a desire to play football for the Fighting Irish), Angelo Pizzo has brought sports to the big screen in a way nobody else has.
In addition to the massive hits that became “Hoosiers” and “Rudy”, Pizzo also wrote and produced 2005’s “The Game of Their Lives” (the true tale of the 1950 U.S. soccer team that, against all odds, beat England 1-0 in a World Cup contest in Belo Horizonte, Brazil).
All three films were directed by Pizzo’s Indiana University college classmate, David Anspaugh, with whom he shared Heartland Film Festival honors for “Hoosiers” and “Rudy” (he also serves on the festival’s board of directors). “Hoosiers” was also named best sports film of all-time by both ESPN and USA Today, and is part of the Library of Congress’ National Film Register.
Born in Chicago, Pizzo moved to Bloomington, Indiana, as a toddler, and stayed there through his undergraduate career at IU, where he earned a degree in Political Science. He moved to the west coast to attend film school at the University of Southern California, and then began his career as a writer and producer at Warner Brothers Television. He went on to work for Time Life Films, where he became Vice President of feature film production. In addition to his feature film work, Pizzo served as associate producer on two 1980 TV movies, “Father Figure” and “Blinded By the Light”.
In addition to his film honors, he has received numerous awards that include an honorary doctorate from Franklin College, the Thomas Hart Benton Award from IU and the Governor’s Arts Award. He serves on the boards of the Kinsey Institute and the New Harmony Writers’ Project and was named a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest civilian honor given to a resident of Indiana.
Pizzo never forgot his Indiana roots. He tried making a life in California with all of the other Hollywood folks, but he eventually returned home with his family and now resides in Bloomington once again, where he is a season-ticket holder of Hoosiers basketball.