'Still Alice' Co-Director Richard Glatzer Hospitalized With Severe Respiratory Problems


By Todd Cunningham

Richard Glatzer, who co-wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated Alzheimer’s drama Still Alice, remained hospitalized Sunday after he suffered severe respiratory problems and was rushed by ambulance to a Los Angeles-area hospital on Friday.

Wash Westmoreland, Glatzer’s husband and his directing and writing partner on Alice, posted at noon Sunday on Facebook that Glatzer’s condition had improved after he went into cardiac arrest.

Westmoreland also wrote that they are communicating via eye movements and plan to watch the Academy Awards from the hospital on Feb. 22.

“Not so glamorous but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And Richard will be alive to see it,” he said. Glatzer was in 2011 diagnosed ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Still Alice, the most recent movie by Glatzer and Westmoreland, was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at the Toronto Film Festival and released in January. Julianne Moore received an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for her performance in the film as a wife and mother of three children who is dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

The duo paired on three previous films: The Last of Robin Hood (2014), Quinceanera (2006) and The Fluffer (2001).

Below is Wash Westmoreland‘s Facebook post in its entirety:

The best of times/worst of times is continuing. On Friday, I went to rent some tuxedos for the Oscars and when I returned to the house, Richard was having breathing problems. After a few hours on the home respirator, I realized things were getting serious and called 9-1-1. The ambulance came quickly but by the time he got to the ER, his fingers were turning blue. He was immediately intubated so he could breathe but during this process he went into cardiac arrest. The team went into emergency mode, brought in the defibrillators and started doing CPR. They tried four times and nothing happened . I was in total shock at this point, unable to believe what was happening. The fifth time, a weak pulse showed up on the machine and he came back to life. Richard had been legally dead for 15 minutes.

He was immediately put on heavy sedation and his body was chilled for 24 hours to try to stop any neurological damage from the trauma. A lot of times, people just don’t come back after an episode like that. I spent a hard night with friends developing rationales to keep hope alive. Then yesterday, late in the afternoon, they started to ease off the sedation and he opened one eye. The doctor started doing tests but I immediately saw everything I needed to see in that eyeball — the way it moved and focussed. He was still there. And he was ALL there.

We soon developed a blink code like in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly so Richard could communicate his needs. He has been complaining a lot — which is music to my ears. To his amazement, I explained to him what happened the night before — that he had done a Lazarus. I was hoping to hear some stories about floating around out-of-body but when pressed, he couldn’t remember any details about the afterlife — which he’s never professed to believe in anyway.

So looks like we’ll be watching the Oscars from the hospital room amidst the beeping machines. Not so glamorous but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And Richard will be alive to see it.