Filmmaker Richard Glatzer, the co-writer and co-director of Still Alice, died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Glatzer and husband Wash Westmoreland were a writing and directing team who were responsible for a string of very successful eclectic indie movies.
Their first collaboration in 2001 was The Fluffer a comedy about a young man employed for a ‘vital role’ in the adult entertainment industry who finds himself falling for a gay-for-pay porn star whose hedonistic lifestyle may lead them both to destruction. In 2006 the pair won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for Quinceañera with a plot that focused on a multigenerational Mexican-American family preparing for their daughter’s quinceañera against the backdrop of a gentrifying neighbourhood in LA. Then Glatzer and Westmoreland executive-produced a heart-breaking movie in 2008 called Pedro about Pedro Zamora the AIDS activist who was cast on MTV’s The Real World and died aged 22,
Their last film Still Alice is a movie about a fifty-year-old linguistics professor who develops early onset Alzheimer’s disease for which Julianne Moore won a Best Actress Academy Award. Some critics have suggested a connection between Glatzer’s own battle with ALS and the raw, honest depiction of illness in the film.
British-born Westmoreland and Glatzer’s partner for 20 years issued the following statement:
‘I am devastated. Rich was my soul mate, my collaborator, my best friend and my life. Seeing him battle ALS for four years with such grace and courage inspired me and all who knew him.
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.
Thank you to everyone for this huge outpouring of love. Richard was a unique guy — opinionated, funny, caring, gregarious, generous, and so so smart. A true artist and a brilliant man. I treasure every day of the short twenty years we had together.
I cannot believe he has gone. But in my heart and the hearts of those who loved him he will always be alive.’
Richard Glatzer (January 28, 1952 – March 10, 2015)