RIP Richard GlatzerI was out shopping yesterday when I learned that Richard Glatzer had died. Richard was the co-writer/director of the profoundly moving Still Alice based on Lisa Genova's book. While not unexpected—Richard, with collaborator and husband Wash Westmoreland by his side, battled ALS for the last four years—the news of his death struck me like the gut punch of a personal loss. I didn't know him, but I felt like he knew me. Alzheimer's robbed us of my mother's last years; I'm grateful to both Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland for shining a light on the ravages of the disease, how it affects both the person and the people in their lives. Richard Glatzer was only 63, his death is tragic for both those who knew him, and for the millions of others, people like me whose lives he touched deeply. Thank you Richard for giving the gift of Lisa Genova's Still Alice to the world.
Richard, who was determined to make the movie, despite his own disease, told NPR that initially reading Genova's book about dealing with such an advancing illness was difficult. "It just cut too close to the bone," he said. "But once I’d finished it, I felt determined to make Still Alice into a movie. It really resonated with me.”
Julianne Moore, who won every major Best Actress award, including the Oscar for her portrayal of Alice, thanked Glatzer and Westmoreland in her acceptance speech:
“And finally, to our filmmakers, Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, who had hoped to be here tonight but they can’t because of Richard’s health. 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.”
Today she shared the news of Richard's death on twitter, along with a brief comment: I love you Richard.
The Hollywood Reporter included this statement from Wash Westmoreland in Glatzer's obituary:
“I am devastated. Rich was my soulmate, 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 20 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.”
Born Jan. 28, 1952, in Queens, N.Y., Glatzer attended the University of Michigan, received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia (where he formed a friendship with legendary director Frank Capra) and taught screenwriting in NYC at the School of Visual Arts and The New School.
He came to L.A. to produce the daytime TV show Divorce Court and, using that experience, wrote and directed Grief (1993), which featured Illeana Douglas in a story about a sleazy daytime show.
Glatzer also produced the Tyra Banks reality show America’s Next Top Model.
In addition to to Westmoreland, Glatzer is survived by his sister, Joan, and her husband, David, his loving nieces and nephews, and his daughter, Ruby.