Gena Rowlands in ‘full’ grip of Alzheimer’s

Gena Rowlands is in the ‘full’ grip of Alzheimer’s credit:Bang Showbiz
Gena Rowlands is in the ‘full’ grip of Alzheimer’s credit:Bang Showbiz

Gena Rowlands is in the “full” grip of Alzheimer’s.

The iconic actress, 94, whose best-known roles include dementia-stricken Allie in ‘The Notebook’, was revealed to be deep in the throes of the same disease by her 65-year-old filmmaker son Nick Cassavetes – who directed her in the popular 2004 weepie.

He told Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday (25.06.24) while celebrating the 20th anniversary of the romantic drama: “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.

“She’s in full dementia, and it’s so crazy – we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us.”

Gena’s late mother Lady Rowlands died aged 95 in 1999 after suffering the degenerative disease.

The actress opened up in 2004 about how her mum’s struggle with Alzheimer’s had influenced her decision to play Allie in ‘The Notebook’, adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ debut 1996 novel.

She told O 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.”

Nick said the film – which also starred Ryan Gosling, 43, Rachel McAdams, 45, and the late James Garner – who was killed by a heart attack in 2014 aged 86 – “holds up pretty good” after two decades.

He added: “It’s always a shock to hear that as much time has gone by as it has, but it makes sense.

“I’m just happy that it exists. It seems to have worked, and I’m very proud of it.”

Gena is also renowned for her collaborations with her late husband, John Cassavetes – who died in 1989 aged 59 from complications linked to liver disease – including the 1974 film ‘A Woman Under the Influence’ and ‘Gloria’ six years later.

She received Oscar nominations for both roles and her last film was the 2014 comedy ‘Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks’, which co-starred 48-year-old Cheyenne Jackson.