‘Still Alice’ director Richard Glatzer passes away

Today is a sad day in the world of Independent Cinema.  Richard Glatzer, the co-director and screenwriter of  “Still Alice,” has passed away after a four-year battle with ALS.

Born on January 28, 1952 in Flushing Queens, Glatzer first came to prominence with his directorial debut “Grief.”  The 1993 drama premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was partly inspired by his experience with the loss of his partner, Donald Ray Berry, to AIDS.

In 1995, Glatzer met Wash Westmoreland and they became life partners.  Their professional collaborations included “The Fluffer” (2001), “Quinceañera” (2006), which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, “The Last of Robin Hood” (2013) and the aforementioned “Still Alice.”  The latter became the biggest success of Glatzer”s career and star Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance at the Academy Awards last month.  Glatzer was unable to attend the “Alice”s” world premiere at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, but was present for the Los Angeles premiere at AFI Film Fest in November.

During a Q&A afterward, Moore noted how “Still Alice” deals with a similar situation to what Glatzer and Westmoreland were going through.  Glatzer was a presence on set and co-directed by using his iPad to communicate.

“The interesting thing about communicating with Richard is that what he is going through kind of disappeared after awhile because you were still communicating with the person who is there,” Moore said. “Oddly it wasn't an issue. So, in a way, it made it very clear to me what was the defining issue of the film.”

Moore had hoped Glatzer and Westmoreland would be able to attend the Oscars, but Glatzer's health made it impossible.

Over the years Glatzer also worked on TV shows such as “Divorce Court,” “Road Rules,” “The Osbournes” and “America”s Next Top Model.”

He”s survived by his husband Westmoreland, his sister Joan Kodner, her husband David, his nieces and nephews, and his daughter Ruby Smith.