HomeNewsLocalGena Rowlands, 'Notebook' Actress, Has Alzheimer's, Son Reveals

Gena Rowlands, ‘Notebook’ Actress, Has Alzheimer’s, Son Reveals

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Actress Gena Rowlands, an Emmy and Golden Globe winner best known for her performance in the film “The Notebook,” is living with Alzheimer’s disease, her son has revealed.

Nick Cassavetes, who directed his mother in the movie, in which she played the older version of Allie — a woman living with dementia — told Entertainment Weekly about his mother’s condition.

“I got my mom to play older Allie, and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer’s and wanting to be authentic with it, and now, for the last five years, she’s had Alzheimer’s,” Cassavetes said. “She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us.”

Rowlands, 94, is also known for collaborating with husband John Cassavetes in multiple films, including “A Woman Under the Influence” in 1974 and “Gloria” in 1980. Both performances earned her Oscar nominations for best actress. She won a Golden Globe for her role in “A Woman Under the Influence.”

In 2015, she received an honorary Academy Award.

Cassavetes’ grandmother, actress Lady Rowlands, also had Alzheimer’s.

In a 2004 interview with O magazine, Rowlands opened up about how her mother’s struggle with the disease impacted her decision to play Allie.

“This last one — `The Notebook,’ based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks — was particularly hard because I play a character who has Alzheimer’s,” she told the magazine. “I went through that with my mother, and if Nick hadn’t directed the film, I don’t think I would have gone for it — it’s just too hard. It was a tough but wonderful movie.”

Rowlands played the older version of Rachel McAdams’ character in “The Notebook,” with James Garner and Ryan Gosling starring as the older and younger version of her love interest. The 2004 film grossed $117 million at the worldwide box office and endures as one of the most popular romance films.

Rowlands won an Emmy for her portrayal of former first lady of the United States Betty Ford in the 1987 made-for-TV movie “The Betty Ford Story.”

Rowlands’ last feature film role was the 2014 comedy “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” co-starring Cheyenne Jackson.

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