Matt Cimber

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Matt Cimber
Thomas Vitale Ottaviano

(1936-01-12) January 12, 1936 (age 85)
Other namesGary Harper
Matteo Ottaviano
Rinehart Segway
(m. 1964; div. 1966)

Christy Hanak
(m. 1967–1988)
Lynn Fero
(m. 1987)

Matt Cimber (born Thomas Vitale Ottaviano; January 12, 1936)[1][2][3] is an American producer, director, and writer of film, television, and theatre. He is known for directing diverse genre films The Candy Tangerine Man, The Witch Who Came from the Sea, and Hundra , and the controversial 1982 drama Butterfly. He was the co-creator and director of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) professional wrestling promotion and syndicated television series.[4][5] Cimber was the last husband of actress Jayne Mansfield, and directed her on stage and in the 1968 film Single Room Furnished.[6]



Cimber began his career in the early 60s directing at the Londonderry Theater Workshop, in Vermont, off-Broadway plays including works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams and the US premieres of the Jean Cocteau trilogy. During his theater years, Cimber adapted Burning Bright by John Steinbeck which introduced Sandy Dennis who went on to win an Academy Award for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Cimber then directed the Broadway revival of Bus Stop, where he met his future wife Jayne Mansfield.


Matt made his cinematic directorial debut (credited on-screen as Matteo Ottaviano)[1][7] with the offbeat drama Single Room Furnished (1966), which was also Mansfield's last finished film before her death in 1967. Cimber proceeded to direct a string of sexploitation films under the pseudonyms Gary Harper and Rinehart Segway, including Man and Wife (1969), Sex and Astrology (1971), and The Sexually Liberated Female (1970), which was based on a best-selling book The Sensuous Woman by Joan Garrity.

Cimber helmed three blaxploitation films in the mid-70s; The Black Six (1973), Lady Cocoa (1975) and The Candy Tangerine Man (1975), the latter of which Samuel L. Jackson and Quentin Tarantino have cited as one of their favorite films.[8][9] In 1976, Cimber made a rare foray into the horror genre with the disturbing psychological shocker The Witch Who Came from the Sea, starring Millie Perkins and Lonny Chapman. His next film was A Time to Die, a World War II thriller based on a novel by Mario Puzo, starring Rex Harrison and Rod Taylor. The film was shot in 1979, but was not released until 1983.

In 1982, Cimber teamed up with actress Pia Zadora for the caper film Fake-Out and the crime drama Butterfly, based on the novel The Butterfly by James M. Cain. The film received overwhelmingly negative critical reception, winning three Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst New Star, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor) with additional seven nominations (Worst Director, Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Supporting Actress, Worst Original Song, Worst Musical Score). Despite this, Zadora won the Golden Globe Award for Best Female Newcomer, with accusations that the award had been "bought" by her husband Meshulam Riklis. The following year Cimber collaborated with actress Laurene Landon for the adventure films Hundra and Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold (1984).


In 1986, Cimber was one of the principal co-creators behind the professional wrestling promotion GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, serving as executive producer and director of the syndicated television program. The show lasted for four seasons. It later inspired the fictionalized Netflix series GLOW, which ran from 2017-2019. On that series, the character played by Marc Maron -- a director of exploitation movies who finds an unlikely second act as the creator of a women's wrestling show -- is inspired by Matt Cimber.[10]

Later career[edit]

Cimber's recent work has been in the documentary genre. He wrote and directed An American Icon: Coca-Cola, the Early Years (1997) and The History of United Nations (1996). He created and wrote the eight-minute intro for visitors to the United Nations for which he received a special commendation from the UN.

After a twenty years absence in motion picture production, Cimber made a comeback with the independent drama Miriam (2006).

Personal life[edit]

Cimber married Jayne Mansfield in 1965, they have one son, Antonio ("Tony", b. 1965). They divorced in 1966.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Cimber was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards; Worst Picture, Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Butterfly (1982).


Year Title Dir. Pro. Wri. Notes
1968 Single Room Furnished Yes Yes Credited as Matteo Ottaviano
1969 Man & Wife: An Educational Film for Married Adults[11] Yes Credited as Gary Harper
1970 Africanus Sexualis (Black Is Beautiful) Yes Yes
He & She[12] Yes
The Sexually Liberated Female[13] Yes Yes Yes
1971 Sex and Astrology Yes Yes Credited as Rinehart Segway
Calliope Yes Yes Credited as Gary Harper
1974 The Black Six Yes Yes Yes
1975 That Girl from Boston Yes Yes
Gemini Affair Yes Yes
Lady Cocoa Yes Yes
Alias Big Cherry Yes Yes
The Candy Tangerine Man Yes Yes
1976 The Witch Who Came from the Sea Yes Yes
1979 Do It In the Dirt Yes
1982 Butterfly Yes Yes Yes Nominated:
Fake-Out Yes Yes Yes
A Time to Die Yes Yes with Joe Tornatore
1983 Hundra Yes Yes
1984 Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold Yes Yes
1986-89 Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling Yes Yes As co-creator
Television series - 108 episodes
2006 Miriam Yes Yes Yes
2008 Peace for Profit Yes Documentary film


  1. ^ a b Faris, Jocelyn (1 January 1994). Jayne Mansfield: A Bio-bibliography. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313285448.
  2. ^ Parish, James Robert (20 December 2010). The Hollywood Book of Breakups. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118040676.
  3. ^ Strait, Raymond (1 January 1992). Here They Are Jayne Mansfield. SP Books. ISBN 9781561711468.
  4. ^ "The Real Women of 'GLOW' Told Us the Sexist BS They Dealt with in the 80s". Vice. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. ^ O'Keeffe, Jack. "'GLOW's Director Has A Complicated Legacy". Bustle. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  6. ^ Golden, Eve (2021). Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn't Help It. University Press of Kentucky. p. 303. ISBN 081318097X.
  7. ^ Ferruccio, Frank; Santroni, Damien (1 January 2010). Did Success Spoil Jayne Mansfield?: Her Life in Pictures and Text. Frank Ferruccio. ISBN 9781432761233.
  8. ^ "Matt Cimber: Grindhouse Specialist - The Grindhouse Cinema Database". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  9. ^ "The Candy Tangerine Man / Lady Cocoa".
  10. ^ O'Keeffe, Jack (22 June 2017). "'GLOW's Director Has A Complicated Legacy". Bustle. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Man & Wife: An Educational Film for Married Adults (1969) - IMDb".
  12. ^ "He & She (1970) - IMDb".
  13. ^ "The Sensually Liberated Female (1970) - IMDb".

External links[edit]