‘The Notebook’s’ Gena Rowlands, who played Allie, suffering from Alzheimer’s, son says

FILE - Actress Gena Rowlands arrives at the premiere of New Lines' "The Notebook" on June 21, 2004 at the Village Theatre, in Los Angeles, California.  (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The lauded actor and honorary Oscar recipient Gena Rowlands is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, her son, filmmaker Nick Cassavetes, revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday. 

In the 2004 film "The Notebook," Cassavetes directed his mother, who played the older version of the character played by Rachel McAdams, as a woman with dementia. 

"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," Cassavetes said. "She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us." 

FILE - Actress Gena Rowlands (R) accepts an award from Nick Cassavetes onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 7th annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on Nov. 14, 2015, in Holly (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Rowlands, 94, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about five years ago and her mother, Lady Rowlands, also had Alzheimer’s. 

While filming "The Notebook," Gena Rowlands said she channeled her mother to play the older Allie. 

"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," Rowlands told O magazine in 2004. "It was a tough but wonderful movie." 

Rowlands made 10 films with her husband, John Cassavetes, which included the 1974 film "A Woman Under the Influence" and "Gloria," in the 1980’s. 

She was nominated for an Oscar for both performances. Rowlands has also won four Emmys and her latest film work was in the 2014 comedy "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," according to IMDB. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.