Gena Rowlands' Life in Pictures

Gena Rowlands is best-known for her roles in The Notebook, as well as films including A Woman Under the Influence, Opening Night, and Gloria, by director (and her late husband) John Cassavetes. See her life and career in pictures 

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Gena Rowlands' Life Before Acting

Gena Rowlands
John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty

Born Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands on June 19, 1930, to Mary Allen and Edwin Myrwyn Rowlands, the actress grew up in Wisconsin.

She attended the University of Wisconsin from 1947-50, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. She eventually moved to New York City to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

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Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes' Love Story

Gena Rowlands

After meeting director John Cassavetes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the two married on April 9, 1954. They were together for almost 35 years before his death on Feb. 3, 1989.

Over the course of their relationship, Rowlands and Cassavetes worked together on 10 films, including A Child Is Waiting, Faces, Machine Gun McCain, Minnie and Moskowitz, A Woman Under the Influence, Two-Minute Warning, Opening Night, Gloria, Tempest, and Love Streams.

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Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes' Children

Gena Rowlands
Toni Anne Barson Archive/WireImage

Rowlands and Cassavetes had three children together: Nick Cassavetes, born on May 21, 1959; Alexandra "Xan" Cassavetes, born on Sept. 21, 1965; and Zoe Cassavetes, born on June 29, 1970. All three children followed in their famous parents' footsteps and are actors and directors.

Rowlands' children joined her for The Notebook premiere at the Deauville American Film Festival in September 2004. Pictured clockwise from left, Xan, Gina (Nick's daughter), Nick, Gena, and Zoe.

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Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence

Gena Rowlands
C Tavin/Everett/Shutterstock

In 1974, Rowlands starred in A Woman Under the Influence, which was written and directed by Cassavetes. Rowlands received her first Oscar nomination, for Best Actress, for her performance in the film.

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Gena Rowlands' Golden Globe Wins

Gena Rowlands
Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Archive Photos/Getty

In addition to receiving an Oscar nomination for A Woman Under the Influence, Rowlands also won her first Golden Globe for the film in 1974.

She later won her second Golden Globe in 1987 for her role in The Betty Ford Story, in which she played former first lady Betty Ford. In total, Rowlands has received eight Golden Globes nominations.

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Gena Rowlands in Opening Night

Gena Rowlands

In 1977, Rowlands starred in the American psychological drama Opening Night, which was also written and directed by Cassavetes.

For her role, Rowlands received the Silver Bear award for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1977.

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Gena Rowlands in Gloria

Gena Rowlands

Gloria marked one of Rowlands' final projects with Cassavetes before his death in 1989. The film earned her a second Oscar nomination for Best Actress, as well as another Golden Globes nomination.

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Gena Rowlands' Emmy Award Wins

Gena Rowlands
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty

In 1987, Rowlands won her first Emmy Award: outstanding actress in a miniseries or a movie for her role in The Betty Ford Story.

She also won outstanding actress in a miniseries or a movie for Face of a Stranger in 1992 and outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie for Hysterical Blindness in 2003. In total, Rowlands has received eight Emmy nominations.

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Gena Rowlands in Another Woman

Gena Rowlands
Brian Hamill/Orion/Kobal/Shutterstock

Another one of Rowlands' most notable roles was the 1988 film Another Woman, which was written and directed by Woody Allen. The film follows a professor who overhears sessions from a psychiatrist's office and becomes captivated by one of the patients (played by Mia Farrow).

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Gena Rowlands in The Notebook

gena rowlands
Rowlands in The Notebook. Courtesy Everette Collection

In 2004, Rowlands starred in the film adapation of Nicholas Sparks' book The Notebook. She played the present-day version of Allie, who was played in flashbacks by Rachel McAdams throughout the film. The movie was also a family collaboration as Rowlands' son Nick Cassavetes directed the project.

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Gena Rowlands and Robert Forrest's Love Story

Gena Rowlands
RYAN MCCUNE/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Following Cassavetes' death in 1989, Rowlands found love again with retired businessman Robert Forrest, who was a close friend of both Cassavetes and Rowlands, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The couple eventually got married in 2012 and have made a number of public appearances together over the years, including premieres for Rowlands' films The Notebook and Hysterical Blindness.

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Gena Rowlands' Oscar Wins

Gena Rowlands

After receiving two Oscar nominations prior, Rowlands was given an Honorary Academy Award in November 2015 during the 7th annual Governors Awards ceremony.

During her speech, she thanked her late husband Cassavetes for his contribution to her career.

"You know what is wonderful about being an actress?" she said at the time. "You live many lives."

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