Long before the name Matthew Specktor was inscribed in Samantha Culp’s heart, it was under a short, sweet note on a page of Mr. Specktor’s American Dream Machine, which she had bought at a discount at the Hotel Bel. Airborne in Los Angeles in June 2013.
“With the warmest wishes,” wrote the 54-year-old Specktor, “and thank you, I hope you enjoy it.”
Ms. Culp, 38, a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and producer, recalled jet lag that day when she flew home two days earlier from Shanghai, where she lived and worked as a journalist, art curator, and consultant for a decade. She wrote for The South China Morning Post and was a consultant for cultural projects and institutions. “I read his book and thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s a great writer,'” said Ms. Culp, who graduated from Yale.
“He had such apt observations of the strange beauty of our hometown together, and a similarly weird connection to Hollywood that I had growing up in it and seeing both its magic and its flaws,” she said. “It was exciting to discover a new writer whose work I really loved.”
Ms. Culp was the producer for the Netflix crime documentary series “Exhibit A” in 2019 and for “The Confession Tapes” in 2017. Now in its second season, “The Confession Tapes”, which tells of false beliefs, was nominated as the best episode series of the International Documentary Association. She is also a Fellow of the Power of Diversity Masters Workshop at the Producers Guild of America.
At his book signing in Los Angeles, Mr. Specktor, a graduate of Hampshire College, had one thought: “I remember thinking she was a really beautiful, vibrant, and vital person I would love to date.” divorced when he first crossed Mrs. Culp. “We started talking,” he said, “and she’s telling me she’s going back to Shanghai and I was like,“ Okay, I’ll never see her again. “
But he did it almost six years later in December 2018 through the dating website OkCupid. Until then he neither recognized nor remembered her.
“I remembered Matthew from the moment I first looked at his online dating profile,” said Ms. Culp. “But I decided to play it cool because I didn’t want to bewitch anything.”
Ms. Culp also said she was so “intrigued” when they agreed that she “did research on Matthew about some of the other friends of the Los Angeles Review of Books editor, who all talked brightly about him and encouraged me to go on the date . “
“It’s a fun thing,” she said. “We started dating in December 2018 – a world before the pandemic – and it wasn’t long before we got along very well.”
After an otherwise successful first date at a Los Angeles restaurant, Ms. Culp texted Mr. Specktor with a photo of the nearly seven-year-old inscription he’d put on her book at the Bel Air Hotel.
Mr. Specktor glanced at the photo, dialed Ms. Culp’s phone number and blurted out, “Oh my god, it’s you!”
They soon started dating each other steadily. Ms. Culp was introduced to Mr. Specktor’s daughter Virginia Specktor, now 16 years old and known as Vivi, and his two-year-old, half wheat terrier, half miniature schnauzer pilot.
The couple found that they had a lot in common, including a shared love of literature and film.
“Our habits and ambitions seemed to be well aligned,” said Specktor, a former film manager who is now the author of several books and founding editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.
“We did almost everything together that first year, apart from a long trip to India that Sam took with her mother when I was home finishing a book,” he said. “I didn’t mind. It gave me the opportunity to buy an engagement ring. “
It also gave Mrs. Culp an opportunity to evaluate her relationship with Mr. Specktor, and it wasn’t long before she realized that she had a man inside her who checked all the so-called boxes.
“He loves and cares for his daughter, friends and family and his dog,” said Ms. Culp. “In that sense,” she said, laughing, “I think he’s a Keeper.”
He suspected the same thing, which is why he suggested shortly after they left a Los Angeles restaurant in December 2019, five months after Ms. Culp moved in with him.
“I’ve been married once and dated a lot,” said Mr. Specktor. “But with Sam there was so much more clarity and so much more understanding in pretty much every interaction we’ve ever had.”
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“I was married once before and divorced for 14 years,” he added. “On the contrary, I wasn’t against getting married again in the years in between, but I can’t say that I felt close to it before. Sam has never been married. But I know there was never a moment of hesitation for either of us. “
They were married on December 16 in the front garden of the groom’s father, Fred Specktor, and his stepmother, Nancy Heller, in Los Angeles. Nicholas Meyer, a family friend and Minister for Universal Life, presided over a ceremony that incorporated Jewish wedding traditions. Mr. Specktor’s daughter Virginia presented the couple’s rings.
Among the eight socially distant guests was the bride’s mother, Candace Wilson Culp, writer and retired model. The groom said he wished his mother, the late Katherine Howe, could have been there.
The bride’s father, actor Robert Culp, died 10 years ago. He was best known for his role in the hit TV series “I Spy”. He has also appeared in the TV series “Trackdown” and in the comedy film “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”.
The coronavirus had forced the couple to change their original plans for a grand wedding reception in August.
“Trying to plan a wedding, or even just the basic legal marriage,” said the groom, “has proven to be quite a task in the year of the pandemic. I’m so glad we made it. “
On this day
When December 16, 2020
Where The garden in front of the home of the father and stepmother of the groom in Los Angeles.
What they were wearing The groom put on a vintage Prada suit. The bride wore a gold brocade dress from H & M’s Conscious collection for sustainable designs. For the tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”: she carried her grandmother’s vintage gold handbag; wore her new dress; lent her mother’s pearls; and showed off her blue sapphire engagement ring.
A tribute to papa The bride put a photo of her father Robert Culp in her grandmother’s gold purse to keep him close throughout the day.
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