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The Notebook star Gena Rowlands diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, her director son reveals

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Gena Rowlands, the legendary actress known for her role as the dementia-stricken Allie in The Notebook, is now in the "full" grip of Alzheimer's disease.

Her son, Nick Cassavetes, who directed the 2004 romantic drama and is himself a renowned filmmaker at 65, shared the heartbreaking health news with Entertainment Weekly during the film's 20th anniversary celebrations on Tuesday, 25 June.

He revealed: "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." He reflected on the cruel twist of fate, saying: "She's in full dementia, and it's so crazy we lived it, she acted it, and now it's on us." Sadly, 94 year old Gena's own mother, Lady Rowlands, passed away at 95 in 1999 after battling Alzheimer's.

In a 2004 interview with O magazine, Gena opened up about how her mother's fight with the degenerative disease influenced her portrayal of Allie, stating: "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." She worked on The Notebook, with Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, and the late James Garner, and said: "It was a tough but wonderful movie." Reflecting on the enduring popularity of The Notebook, adapted from Nicholas Sparks' 1996 novel, Gena's son, director Nick, remarked that the film "holds up pretty good" two decades later.

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