IU alum says education paved his path to Hollywood

Ask veteran actor, writer and producer Doug Spearman what drew him to Indiana University, and he’ll caution you not to laugh before launching into his tale.

“A buddy of mine took me to see ‘Breaking Away’ and I instantly fell in love with Dennis Quaid and, honestly, I thought IU was the coolest looking school,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m not kidding. I was a kid brought up in the late 1960s, early 1970s and my frame of reference was TV and movies. That’s how life is supposed to look, right, with fraternity parties, sorority girls, big buildings with turrets, a beautiful campus?”

Doug Spearman

Doug Spearman

IU offered financial help, which sealed the deal for his parents, and the young student arrived in Bloomington in 1980. Once on campus, racism reared its ugly head but Spearman was able to confront those attitudes through a network of friends and mentors.

“I had the most amazing, supportive teachers in the world,” Spearman said about his time at the university, rattling off a list of professors and a former dean who took him under their collective wing. “And I met some amazing people who loved me. In fact, my college roommates and I, we’re all still friends. They flew out to L.A. to celebrate my 50th birthday. IU is a huge part of my life. I got a great education, and I had awesome professors who taught me real-world stuff.”

He’s still using those skills he learned at IU, he said, where he graduated with majors in theatre and telecommunications.

After writing, directing and producing commercials for several years, Spearman began to act. Since then, he’s appeared in television shows like “Profiler” and “Star Trek Voyager,” as well as the LOGO channel’s drama “Noah’s Arc,” co-starred in the motion picture “Cradle 2 the Grave” with Jet Li and, most recently, appeared in “Any Day Now” alongside Alan Cumming.

“I still do the vocal warm-ups I learned my freshman week in drama,” he said, launching into a rapid-fire tongue twister before adding, “And I still use the three-point lighting technique I learned in studio production class.”

Now, Spearman is directing his first feature film: “Hot Guys with Guns,” which already has its own IMDb page. An action-adventure flick he describes as “like ‘Lethal Weapon’ only if Danny Glover and Mel Gibson were better looking and ex-boyfriends,” he believes it might just be Hollywood’s first gay action film.

“I really do use the stuff I learned in college,” Spearman said. “IU did exactly what it was supposed to do, create a foundation for me. But I was also one of the lucky ones, because I had a sense of purpose and I knew what I wanted to do. Bloomington was an incredible place to live and learn and grow.”

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