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Life Imitating Art: 'The Notebook' Star Suffering Dementia 20 Years on From Film — Just Like her Character in the Film

the notebook gena rowlands dementia  years nick cassavetes
Source: mega

"She's in full dementia. And it's so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it's on us," her son shared.

Jun. 26 2024, Published 1:31 p.m. ET

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Gena Rowlands, the actress who famously played the older version of Allie Hamilton in The Notebook, is suffering from dementia — like her character in the 2004 film.

Her son, director and actor Nick Cassavetes, revealed 94-year-old Rowlands has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, RadarOnline.com has learned.

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the notebook gena rowlands dementia  years nick cassavetes
Source: mega

Rowlands is suffering from dementia and memory loss.

"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," Nick shared, revealing its been an ongoing struggle for the family considering his grandmother, actress Lady Rowlands, also had the disease.

"She's in full dementia. And it's so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it's on us," he told Entertainment Weekly.

Gena previously said her mother's battle with dementia was tough to witness while sharing that portraying the old-aged Allie, whose younger character was played by Rachel McAdams, reminded her of the past experiences she had.

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Rachel McAdams played young Alie in the beloved film.

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"The Notebook, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks — was particularly hard because I play a character who has Alzheimer's," she told O Magazine in 2004. "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."

Cassavetes revealed that one incident from filming stuck with him over the years, noting that when he finally showed the finished cut to studio executives, they gave the note that Rowlands needed to elicit more of an emotional response when her memories rushed back while being read her own love story by Allie's soulmate Noah, played by James Garner.

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Her son, director and actor Nick Cassavetes, revealed 94-year-old Rowlands has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

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Actor Ryan Gosling played the younger version of Noah in the iconic film about a young couple that falls head-over-heels in love, goes their separate ways and reunites years after they both are convinced their one-time budding summer romance is over.

"We go to reshoots, and now it's one of those things where mama's pissed and I had asked her, 'Can you do it, mom?' She goes, 'I can do anything,'" Cassavetes recalled.

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"I promise you, on my father's life, this is true: Teardrops came flying out of her eyes when she saw [Garner], and she burst into tears. And I was like, OK, well, we got that ... It's the one time I was in trouble on set."

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the notebook gena rowlands dementia  years nick cassavetes
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Actor Ryan Gosling played the younger version of Allie's longtime love, Noah, in the film.

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