Filmmaker Richard Glatzer, who wrote and directed the Oscar-winning film Still Alice with his husband, Wash Westmoreland, has died after suffering from ALS for several years.
Glatzer died Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 63, according to The Hollywood Reporter, less than three weeks after Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her performance as a college professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice.
Moore referred to Glatzer’s illness in her Oscar acceptance speech. Westmoreland and Glatzer “had hoped to be here tonight but they can’t because of Richard’s health,” she said. “When Richard was diagnosed with ALS, Wash asked him what he wanted to do. Did he want to travel? Did he want to see the world? And he said that he wanted to make movies, and that’s what he did.”
Glatzer was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2011, shortly before he and Westmoreland began work on the film, adapted from Lisa Genova’s novel of the same name. “My medical condition made reading the book quite difficult for me,” he told NPR. “It just cut too close to the bone. But once I’d finished it, I felt determined to make Still Alice into a movie. It really resonated with me.” He did not miss a day of filming, according to the Reporter. By the time of the film’s press tour last year he was able to communicate only by typing with his toe on a specially designed iPad, the Associated Press reports.
Glatzer was born in 1952 in Queens, N.Y. He came to Los Angeles in the 1980s to produce Divorce Court, an experience that formed the basis for the first film he wrote and directed, 1993’s Grief, which starred Illeana Douglas, Craig Chester, and Alexis Arquette in a behind-the-scenes story of a similar show.
He and Westmoreland met in 1995 and married in 2013. Their first film collaboration was The Fluffer, a 2001 release set in the gay porn industry, which they codirected from Westmoreland’s script. They had a hit on the festival circuit with 2006’s Quinceañera, a coming-of-age story about a pregnant Latina teenager, which they wrote and directed together. It won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. They next collaborated on 2013’s The Last of Robin Hood, starring Kevin Kline as an aging Errol Flynn. Glatzer was also a producer of the competition show America’s Next Top Model.
His survivors include his husband, a sister, and a daughter.