Virginia Cathryn "Gena" Rowlands (born June 19, 1930) is an American film, stage and television actress, best known for her career in the entertainment industry stretching over six decades. The four-time Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner is best known for her collaborations with her late actor-director husband John Cassavetes in ten films, in two of which, Gloria and A Woman Under the Influence, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In August 2015, it was announced Rowlands would be the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award, in recognition of her unique screen performances.
Rowlands was born as Virginia Cathryn Rowlands in Madison, Wisconsin. Her mother, Mary Allen (Neal), was a housewife who later worked as an actress under the stage name Lady Rowlands. Her father, Edwin Myrwyn Rowlands, was a banker and a state legislator. He was a member of the Wisconsin Progressive Party, and was of Welsh descent. She had a brother, David Rowlands.
Her family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1939 when Edwin was appointed to a position in the United States Department of Agriculture; moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942 when he was appointed as branch manager of the Office of Price Administration; and later moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. From 1947–50, she attended the University of Wisconsin, where she was a popular student already renowned for her beauty. She left for New York City to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts...
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