Home US The Notebook’s Gena Rowlands reveals she has Alzheimer’s in heartbreaking health update

The Notebook’s Gena Rowlands reveals she has Alzheimer’s in heartbreaking health update

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Gena Rowlands has revealed that she has Alzheimer's

Gena Rowlands has revealed that she has Alzheimer’s.

The acting legend, 94, played Rachel McAdams’ older version of Allie in The Notebook, a character who battled dementia on screen.

The heartbreaking health update was announced by his son, Nick Cassavetes, to Entertainment Weekly.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rowlands has suffered from the disease for five years and is now “in the throes of dementia”, according to her devastated family.

Gena Rowlands has revealed that she has Alzheimer’s

The acting legend, 94, played the older version of Rachel McAdams' Allie in The Notebook, a character who battled dementia on screen.

The acting legend, 94, played Rachel McAdams’ previous version of Allie in The Notebook, a character who battled dementia on screen.

Cassavetes said, “I got my mom to play the older Allie and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer’s and wanting to be real with it, and now, for the last five years, she’s had Alzheimer’s.”

‘She is in full dementia. And she is crazy: we lived it, she acted and now she falls on us.”

In a 2004 interview with O Magazine, Rowlands talked about how her mother’s struggle with the disease affected her decision to play Allie.

“I went through that with my mother, and if Nick hadn’t directed the movie, I don’t think I would have done it; it’s too difficult. It was a tough but wonderful movie.”

Nick Cassavetes, reflecting on his experience directing his mother in ‘The Notebook,’ shared a bittersweet memory with Entertainment Weekly.

After showing the completed film to studio executives, they requested a reshoot. Specifically, they wanted Rowlands to show stronger emotions when her character rediscovered her memories and reunited with her love, Noah.

Cassavetes recounted the awkward moment of informing his mother about the new shots, and she was not happy; ‘Let me understand. Are we going to reshoot because of my performance? she said.

“We’re going to do new recordings and now it’s one of those things where mom is mad and I asked her, ‘Can you do it, mom?’ She said, ‘I can do anything,'” Rowland’s son recalled.

‘I promise you, on my father’s life, this is true: Tears came to his eyes when he saw (Garner) and he burst into tears. And I was like, okay, well, we get it… That’s the only time I had problems on set.’

Cassavetes said he is not only proud of the success of the film, established as a romantic “cult classic” for the past 20 years, but also warmly remembers the moments he shared with his mother on the set.

‘It’s always a surprise to hear that it’s been so long, but it makes sense. “I’m just happy it exists,” he says, adding, “It seems to have worked and I’m very proud of it.”

Pictured: Rowlands as Myrtle Gordon in the film Opening Night (1977), for which she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.

Pictured: Rowlands as Myrtle Gordon in the film Opening Night (1977), for which she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.

Pictured: Gena Rowlands accepts an award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' seventh annual Governor's Awards in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2015.

Pictured: Gena Rowlands accepts an award onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ seventh annual Governor’s Awards in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center on November 14, 2015.

Wisconsin-born Rowlands dazzled on the big screen and stage for seven decades before retiring from her stellar career in 2014, at the age of 84.

Many of her best performances were in collaboration with her husband, the actor and director John Cassavetes, who died in 1989, notably A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Gloria (1980).

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