Actress Jill Gascoine, who played Britain’s first female TV police detective, is battling Alzheimer’s disease.The 76-year-old star – best known for her trend-setting role as DI Maggie Forbes in The Gentle Touch – publicly revealed that she has dementia at a Beverly Hills gala raising money to fight the disease.Gascoine, who lives in Hollywood with her actor husband of 26 years Alfred Molina, was introduced to the audience at the star-studded event by her lifelong friend, the actress Millicent Martin. Accepting an award for courage, Gascoine said: ‘It’s been so dreadful, this thing, that I decided I was going to stand up and say, “Well, it’s going to happen so get on with it. I can’t think of anything else to say”.’Appearing confused, she turned to Martin and said: ‘What do I say?’ Martin replied: ‘Just say thank you.’Last night a friend said: ‘Jill and Alfred started telling friends about it a year ago. It is not something that has come on suddenly. ‘Jill was aware there was a problem with her memory as far back as three or four years ago, but it was only in the past year to 18 months that she was officially diagnosed. Her memory loss became more significant and so they informed close friends because it was becoming obvious. Jill hadn’t felt like going public with the news until recently.‘She hopes it will help raise awareness of dementia and the toll it can take on family members.’Gascoine’s dementia may explain her surprise decision in 2010 to drop out of what was considered a major comeback role in EastEnders.
Devoted: Jill, who has revealed she has Alzheimer's and husband Alfred Molina out in Los Angeles last month
She was hired to play the role of Glenda Mitchell but quit after one day’s filming. Gascoine said she felt she ‘lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama’.In August 2012 she appeared as a dying mother on stage in LA in a two-week run of the drama Anxiety, with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. It was a play written for her without any lines to remember. In 2008 Gascoine had told friends she was retiring from acting after appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. London-born Gascoine was a West End star before starring in The Gentle Touch from 1980 to 1984 and its spin-off C.A.T.S. Eyes from 1985 until 1987, paving the way for later shows such as Prime Suspect, which starred Helen Mirren.With her curly, dark-brown hair and wide shoulder-pads, Gascoine made DI Maggie Forbes an unlikely – and sexy – feminist role model. Divorced with two children, Gascoine married Molina in 1986 and moved with him to America in the 1990s as his film career took off. He later starred in Spider-Man 2 and The Da Vinci Code. Despite him being 16 years her junior, friends say the couple are ‘devoted’ to each other. A source said: ‘Alfred has turned down roles to be near her. He is her rock. ‘She gave up a lot for him in the early days of their marriage because she was the bigger star, and she moved to Hollywood to allow him to pursue his dreams.’Last night a spokesman for the couple said: ‘Mr and Mrs Molina are not going to comment.’
Back in the day: Jill Gascoine tries out a police car phone to prepare herself for her role as Maggie Forbes in the TV detective series The Gentle Touch
- 2013/06/09(日) 11:59:38|