“The Gentle Touch” actress Jill Gascoine, also known as Alfred Molina’s wife, passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a decade. Molina took care of her for years.
Alfred Molina and Jill Gascoine started dating in the 80s and married in 1986. Their relationship was unusual for many people as she was 16 years older than him and a higher-earning TV star, which Molina was not back then.
For these reasons, not many people believed their romance would stand the test of time. But it did, as they stayed together for over three decades.
Alfred Molina and his wife, Jill Gascoine on June 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images
JILL GASCOINE’S CAREER
Gascoine is best known for portraying Maggie Forbes in the hit TV show “The Gentle Touch,” but she also landed parts in “General Hospital,” “Z-Cars,” and “Dixon of Dock Green.”
The reason why her work in “The Gentle Touch” was so important was that it became the first British TV drama mainly focused on a female police officer.
Gascoine reinterpreted Maggie Forbes in “C.A.T.S. Eyes,” a more action-orientated spin-off of the original show. While her career was nothing short of impressive, she dealt with some health issues throughout her life.
DIAGNOSED WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
In the early 2010s, after suffering bouts of clinical depression – the result of the challenging time she spent at a boarding school with harassing teachers – Gascoine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, she only revealed it publicly in March 2013 during a fundraising gala for the Alzheimer’s Association in Beverly Hills, California, hoping that it would help raise awareness of dementia and how it affects family members.
According to Express, only some of her and Alfred Molina’s close friends knew about it before the announcement. Apart from that, she reportedly had known that something was not okay with her memory since the late 2000s.
Then, in 2015, Molina explained that he looked after his wife at their home for four years. Eventually, things got to a point where he was “doing more harm than good,” so Gascoine had to go to a care home.
Gascoine was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1997.
TROUBLE RECOGNIZING FAMILIAR FACES
The actor revealed that, at that time, Gascoine had trouble recognizing him. The heartbreaking part, according to Molina, is that you can see “flashes” of the old person, and although you “long for them,” they get less frequent over time.
By November 2016, Jill Gascoine was already in the advanced stages of the disease. At the time, Alfred Molina said that his wife’s prognosis was “bleak.”
Alfred Molina during an interview with "The Real" in February 2020 | Photo: Getty Images
He added that Alzheimer’s was not like cancer as the latter gives patients a chance to fight and, with luck, “you can conquer it.” On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a “cowardly disease.” Molina said:
“[Alzheimer’s disease] creeps up on you from behind and by the time you realize you've got it, you're probably not realizing much else. It's a stinker.”
It is important to point out that Gascoine was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1997, seven years into her and Molina’s marriage, so he knows from experience what both illnesses are like.
JILL GASCOINE’S DEATH
Unfortunately, Gascoine passed away on April 28, 2020. Adam, the actress’ son from her relationship with first husband Bill Keith, announced her death on social media.
He pointed out that she had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for ten years and that, due to the pandemic, they didn’t immediately arrange a memorial service.
Alfred Molina on November 07, 2019 in Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images
Adam also said that the passing of his mother – a “wonderful woman” with a spirit of “absolute, unconditional love” – was a “thankful release,” and the entire family was relieved that she was not suffering anymore.
Alfred Molina’s daughter, Rachel, labeled Jill Gascoine “the best” stepmother she could have asked for, remarking that her death was indeed a “thankful release” from a “brutal disease.”
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