Rowlands made her film debut in The High Cost of Loving in 1958, the same year she married legendary director John Cassavetes. She collaborated with Cassavetes on numerous films, starting with A Child Is Waiting in 1963 and 1968's Faces. She went on to earn Oscar nominations for two more Cassavetes films: A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and Gloria (1980).
Known for her emotionally raw performances, Rowlands earned Emmy awards for The Betty Ford Story (1987), Face of a Stranger (1991) and Hysterical Blindness (2003). She was given Emmy nods for the moving AIDS drama An Early Frost (1985), Wild Iris and What If God Were the Sun?. Other notable films include Once Around and The Notebook.