‘The Notebook’ Actor Gena Rowlands Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

The 'Notebook' Star's Son and film’s director Nick Cassavetes reveals in an interview

Gena Rowlands, the legendary actress best known for her role in The Notebook (2004), has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The 94-year-old actress’s diagnosis was confirmed by her son, Nick Cassavetes, who directed her in The Notebook.

Rowlands played the older version of Allie Hamilton, the same character was played by Rachel McAdams. The 2004 film was based on author Nicholas Sparks’s debut novel by the same name, released in 1996.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly on the 20th anniversary of his popular film, Cassavetes got nostalgic about the moments on set he had with his mother. He revealed that he and Rowlands “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.” The Yellow (2012) filmmaker also shared that actress Lady Rowlands, his maternal grandmother also had the same disease. “She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us,” he added.

Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder, affects memory, thinking, and behaviour. It is the most common cause of dementia, particularly among older adults. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than seven million Americans are currently living with the disease, and it remains a significant public health challenge.

Rowlands’ illustrious career spans over seven decades, marked by her extraordinary performances in both film and television. She received critical acclaim for her roles in movies such as A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Gloria (1980), and, most famously, The Notebook. Her portrayal of Allie in the 2004 romantic drama endeared her to millions and solidified her place as one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. Despite her diagnosis, Gena Rowlands remains an enduring figure in the entertainment industry. Her remarkable talent, resilience, and the indelible mark she has left on cinema continue to inspire both new and seasoned actors.

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