‘Still Alice’ writer-director Richard Glatzer dies, aged 63

Glatzer passed away on Tuesday (March 10) following a battle with degenerative disease ALS

Film-maker Richard Glatzer, who co-wrote and directed Still Alice with his husband Wash Westmoreland, has died aged 63.

Glatzer passed away on Tuesday (March 10) in Los Angeles following a battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the progressive neurodegenerative disease with which he had been diagnosed in 2011. Towards the end of his life, Glatzer’s muscles had weakened so drastically that he was only able to communicate by tapping his big toe on a specially adapted iPad.

Glatzer’s husband and film-making partner said in a statement yesterday (March 11): “In this dark time, I take some consolation in the fact that he got to see Still Alice go out into the world. He put his heart and soul into that film, and the fact that it touched so many people was a constant joy to him.”

Still Alice, in which Julianne Moore stars as a woman battling early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, opened in UK cinemas last Friday (March 9). Read NME’s review of the film here. Last month (Moore) won the Best Actress prize at the Academy Awards for her performance in the title role.

Glatzer’s deteriorating health prevented him from attending the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22, but Moore paid tribute to the film-maker and his husband in her acceptance speech, saying: “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.”

Last night the actress marked Glatzer’s passing with a simple, heartfelt tweet.

After completing a PhD in English from the University of Virginia, New York-born Glatzer pursued a career in television, working on shows including The Osbournes and America’s Next Top Model before moving into independent cinema. He and Westmoreland made five films together, beginning with 2001’s The Fluffer, a drama about obsessive relationships in the gay porn industry whose cast included Debbie Harry, and culminating with the Oscar-winning Still Alice.

In addition to husband Westmoreland, whom he married in 2013, Glatzer is survived by the couple’s daughter, Ruby Smith.