Gena Rowlands is a celebrated screen star of numerous films and television series, having been toiling in the show business for over six decades and counting. Though her rise to prominence is tied to her diverse career, her relationship with her actor-director husband hugely helped in pushing her to stardom.
Over the course of her career, she has participated in several productions in the film, television, and theatre industries. So, it comes as no surprise that she has won the Golden Globe twice, the Daytime Emmy Award once, the National Board of Review Awards twice, and the Primetime Emmy Award four times.
Her Biography and Age
The daughter of Mary Allen and Edwin Myrwyn Rowlands, Gena was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States on 19th June 1930. Before she became known as Gena in the showbiz, she was originally known as Virginia Cathryn Rowlands, which is her birth name. Gena’s mother was a housewife-turned actress who performed under the stage name Lady Rowlands while her father was a state legislator who served under the Wisconsin Progressive Party and was equally a banker. According to records, Edwin is of Welsh descent and also the father of Gena’s brother, David Rowlands.
The actress was raised in several cities due to the nature of her father’s job. In 1939, she moved with her family to Washington, DC, after her father became an officer in the United States Department of Agriculture. Three years later, upon the appointment of her father as a branch manager of the Office of Price Administration, Rowlands’ family relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and would later move to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Gena is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma. She joined the institution in 1947 and graduated in 1950. She also studied drama at the New York-based institution, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Taking a trip down the memory lane, Gena Rowlands began participating in theatrical productions in the early 1950s, playing at the Provincetown Playhouse and with the repertory theatre companies. The iconic performer made her Broadway debut in the play, The Seven Year Itch, after which she spent the next 21 years working with her first husband, actor/director John Cassavetes. Together they produced ten incredible films which are Love Streams (1984), Two-Minute Warning (1976), Faces (1968), Minnie and Moskowitz (1971), A Woman Under the Influence (1974; which fetched her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress), Machine Gun McCain (1969), Opening Night (1977, which earned her the Silver Bear for Best Actress), Tempest (1982), A Child Is Waiting (1963), and Gloria (1980; which won her a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress).
A two-time Satellite Awards winner, Gena Rowlands has also shared screen time with performers such as Peter Sarsgaard, Parker Posey, , Melvil Poupaud, and John Hurt. In addition to her career wins, she has been nominated eight times for Golden Globe Awards, twice for SAG Awards, eight times for Primetime Emmy Awards, twice for Academy Awards, and once for Daytime Emmy Award.
The iconic blonde beauty who stands at a height of 5 feet 6 inches has a net worth of $10 million, as of 2018. Gena Rowlands solely amassed her wealth from her stints in the show business, which has spanned over 60 years.
Gena Rowlands’ Husband
Following the death of her first husband, Rowlands decided to remarry. Since 2012, she has been the wife of Robert Forrest. Not much is known about him but it appears he is happy with his relationship with the legendary actress.
Gena got married to her first husband, John Cassavetes in 1954 and they were together until he died in 1989. Their union produced three children – daughters Zoe Cassavetes (born June 29, 1970), Alexandra Cassavetes (born September 21, 1965) and a son Nicholas David Rowland Cassavetes (born May 21, 1959). The three siblings are all actors/directors.
Is she Dead or Still Alive?
Screen diva Gena Rowlands is still very much alive and kicking strong. Although her acting career has slowed down due to old age, she remains one of the respected living screen actresses in this generation. Gena made her last known appearance in the 2014 film, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, wherein she starred as Lily Harrison. Ever since then, she hasn’t been seen in movies even though it’s assumed that she attends social events. In January 2015, the two-time Golden Globe winner received a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as well as an Honorary Academy Award at the 2015 Governors Awards, where she was praised for being an independent film icon.