This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
Thomas Vitale Ottaviano
January 12, 1936
|Other names||Gary Harper|
(m. 1964; div. 1966)
Matt Cimber (born Thomas Vitale Ottaviano; January 12, 1936) 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. Cimber was the last husband of actress Jayne Mansfield, and directed her on stage and in the 1968 film Single Room Furnished.
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) 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. 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.
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).
Cimber married Jayne Mansfield in 1965, they have one son, Antonio ("Tony", b. 1965). They divorced in 1966.
Awards and nominations
|1968||Single Room Furnished||Yes||Yes||Credited as Matteo Ottaviano|
|1969||Man & Wife: An Educational Film for Married Adults||Yes||Credited as Gary Harper|
|1970||Africanus Sexualis (Black Is Beautiful)||Yes||Yes|
|He & She||Yes|
|The Sexually Liberated Female||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|
|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|
|A Time to Die||Yes||Yes||with Joe Tornatore|
|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
|2008||Peace for Profit||Yes||Documentary film|
- Faris, Jocelyn (1 January 1994). Jayne Mansfield: A Bio-bibliography. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313285448.
- Parish, James Robert (20 December 2010). The Hollywood Book of Breakups. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118040676.
- Strait, Raymond (1 January 1992). Here They Are Jayne Mansfield. SP Books. ISBN 9781561711468.
- "The Real Women of 'GLOW' Told Us the Sexist BS They Dealt with in the 80s". Vice. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- O'Keeffe, Jack. "'GLOW's Director Has A Complicated Legacy". Bustle. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Golden, Eve (2021). Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn't Help It. University Press of Kentucky. p. 303. ISBN 081318097X.
- Ferruccio, Frank; Santroni, Damien (1 January 2010). Did Success Spoil Jayne Mansfield?: Her Life in Pictures and Text. Frank Ferruccio. ISBN 9781432761233.
- "Matt Cimber: Grindhouse Specialist - The Grindhouse Cinema Database". www.grindhousedatabase.com. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- "The Candy Tangerine Man / Lady Cocoa".
- O'Keeffe, Jack (22 June 2017). "'GLOW's Director Has A Complicated Legacy". Bustle. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
- "Man & Wife: An Educational Film for Married Adults (1969) - IMDb".
- "He & She (1970) - IMDb".
- "The Sensually Liberated Female (1970) - IMDb".