Richard Glatzer, who helped write and direct the film “Still Alice,” which brought Julianne Moorean Academy Award last month for her portrayal of a college professor coping with early-onsetAlzheimer’s disease, died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 63.
He had worked on the movie while struggling himself with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig’s disease. His publicist, Ekta Farrar, announced his death.
Mr. Glatzer’s speech had become slurred, and he was showing other symptoms of A.L.S., a degenerative disease of the nervous system, when he and his husband, the British-bornWash Westmoreland, began working on “Still Alice” in 2011. The diagnosis came in 2013.
The film is based on the 2007 best-selling novel of the same title by Lisa Genova, a Harvard-educated neuroscientist, about a Columbia University linguistics professor who is deteriorating as she experiences the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Though his condition was far different from early-onset Alzheimer’s — which attacks the mind and spares the body — Mr. Glatzer found it difficult to read the book.
“It hit way too close,” he told The New York Times in November. “But when I finished reading, I knew we had to do it.”
In the early filming Mr. Glatzer appeared on the sets in Manhattan every day, even as he lost his ability to speak and the use of his hands.
He communicated with the cast and crew members through his iPad, typing with one finger and using a text-to-speech app. As his symptoms worsened, he typed with his big toe.
“I felt very much heard by everyone, every day,” he told The Associated Press last year. “And it’s so very important if you’re struggling with a disease like this to feel you still matter.”
The film was a critical success, and Ms. Moore won the Oscar for best actress as well as a Golden Globe Award.
Mr. Glatzer watched the Oscars ceremony from a hospital, where he was being treated for respiratory problems, and Ms. Moore spoke of him in her acceptance speech on the Dolby Theater stage in Hollywood.
“When Richard was diagnosed with A.L.S., Wash asked him what he wanted to do,” Ms. Moore said. “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.”
Mr. Glatzer was born on Jan. 28, 1952, in Flushing, Queens. He studied at the University of Michigan and earned a doctorate in English at the University of Virginia, where his work with the school’s film program led to a friendship with the director Frank Capra. He later taught screenwriting at the New School and the School of Visual Arts, both in New York.
He moved to Los Angeles to work on television shows, including “Divorce Court,” and used that experience to write and direct the 1993 independent film “Grief,” a fictional, comedic behind-the-scenes look at a show very much like “Divorce Court.” He was also a producer of “America’s Next Top Model,” the reality show hosted by Tyra Banks.
Mr. Glatzer met Mr. Westmoreland at a Los Angeles party in 1995, and the two were married in California in 2013.
They collaborated on three independent films before “Still Alice”: “The Fluffer” (2001), about the sex video industry; the award-winning “Quinceañera” (2006), a portrait of a Mexican-American family in Los Angeles; and “The Last of Robin Hood” (2013), a biographical drama about the actor Errol Flynn starring Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon.
Besides Mr. Westmoreland, Mr. Glatzer is survived by their daughter, Ruby Smith, and his sister, Joan Kodner.