Paul Glickler, writer and director of ‘The Cheerleaders’, dies at 81

Paul Glickler, who directed, co-wrote, produced and edited the 1973 independent sex film, The Cheerleaders, has died. He is 81 years old.

Glickler died Sept. 19 of a heart attack at his home in Topanga in Los Angeles, his sister, Louise G.S. Plaschkes, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Cheerleaders stars Stephanie Fondue, Denise Dillaway and Jovita Bush in this hilarious film about Amorosa High School cheerleaders who have sex with opposing team’s soccer players the night before a big game to drain their strength.

The X-rated film – eventually cut to an R rating – was made for $120,000, saw a great return on investment, was name-checked in John Grisham’s novels and spawned quick features including The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974), directed by Jack Hill, and Revenge of the Cheerleaders ( 1976), led by Richard Lerner, co-writer and producer of the Glickler film.

Glickler described The Cheerleaders as “suburban absurd” and noted that the underage sexual antics initially offended its distributor, Cinemation. He said he had to threaten to sue the company for the money owed him.

Born in Philadelphia on February 13, 1941, and raised in the suburbs, Glickler graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1958 and Princeton University in 1962.

He moved to New York and worked in theater before becoming assistant producer to Arnold Michaelis, accompanying him to shoot interviews with prime ministers Mohammed Ayub Khan of Pakistan and Jawaharlal Nehru of India.

He served as production manager at Gauguin in Tahiti: The Search for Paradise, a 1967 CBS documentary narrated by Michael Redgrave about the journey of painter Paul Gauguin.

With his then wife, Cabell Smith, Glickler drove across the US for a documentary about Native American tribes, but the project was never completed. He later moved to California and co-directed and co-wrote with Lerner the X-rated film Hot Circuit (1971).

Later, Glickler directed and co-wrote Running Scared (1980), starring Ken Wahl and Judge Reinhold, and served as adviser to Wendy Apple on her 2004 documentary, The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing.

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