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Jill Viola Gascoine (11 April 1937 – 29 April 2020) was an English actress and novelist. She was best known for her role as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in the 1980s television series The Gentle Touch and its spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes. In the 1990s, she also became a novelist and published three books.
Jill Viola Gascoine
11 April 1937
|Died||29 April 2020 (aged 83)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1965; div. 1972)
Alfred Molina (m. 1986)
Early in her career in the 1950s, Gascoine has been soubrette in a UK tour of the Crazy Gang Show. In 1956, she was a chorus dancer in the Christmas season of The Adventures of Davy Crockett starring Hermione Badderly in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. Gascoine also worked alongside Tony Award winning Victor Spinetti in intimate revue in the Irving Theatre in London. By 1959, Gascoine had taken over from Millicent Martin in a UK tour of Expresso Bongo. A further stage appearances included playing Dorothy Brock opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in Forty Second Street in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane London and in the musical Destry playing Frenchie, the role played by Marlene Dietrich in Destry Rides Again.
Gascoine began her acting career in theatre in the 1960s and had regular roles at the Dundee Repertory Theatre. She was also an actress in the Downfield Musical Society in Dundee. Her early work also included collaborations with future film and television director Ken Loach.
From 1970 onwards, Gascoine began appearing on television in series such as Z-Cars, General Hospital, Rooms, Dixon of Dock Green, Softly, Softly: Taskforce and Within These Walls. She had a part in the British sex-comedy Confessions of a Pop Performer (1975) and then had a recurring role playing Letty Gaunt in the BBC period drama The Onedin Line (1976–79).
She became better known in 1980 when she took the lead role in the ITV drama series The Gentle Touch, playing Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes. This was the first British television drama that centred on a female police officer, coming several months before the BBC's similarly themed Juliet Bravo. The Gentle Touch was a huge ratings hit in the UK and ran for five series until 1984, though Gascoine continued to play Maggie Forbes in the more action-orientated spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes from 1985–87. Following this, she then appeared as Judy Schwartz in the final series of the sitcom Home to Roost (1989–90) opposite John Thaw, and continued to make guest appearances on British television. She also appeared in the film King of the Wind (1990) opposite Richard Harris and Glenda Jackson.
After a high-profile career that had spanned over twenty years on British television, Gascoine and her second husband, actor Alfred Molina, moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s where she made appearances on US television in series such as Northern Exposure and Touched by an Angel, as well as performing extensively in theatre. Although still living in Los Angeles, she returned to the UK in 2008 to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the play Sister Cities at the Gilded Balloon Theatre.
In October 2009, it was announced that Gascoine was joining the BBC One soap opera EastEnders. She was to play the role of Glenda Mitchell, former wife of Archie Mitchell and mother of Ronnie and Roxy, from early 2010. However, during her first day on set, she withdrew from her filming commitments, as she felt that she "lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama". The part was re-cast with Glynis Barber.
In the 1990s, Gascoine began a career as a novelist. Her first novel was Addicted (1994), about a successful television actress in her fifties who embarks on a destructive affair with a younger, half-English/half-Spanish actor in his thirties (Gascoine's real-life widower Alfred Molina is an English actor of Italian/Spanish descent, who was 16 years her junior). This was followed by her second novel, Lilian (1995), about a woman who begins a love affair when she goes on holiday to California with her best friend.
Her third novel was Just Like A Woman (1997), which details the story of Daisy, a middle-aged woman who is being pressured by her family to have an abortion after she falls pregnant in her fifties.
Personal life and deathEdit
Gascoine married twice. Her first husband was Dundee hotelier Bill Keith, with whom she had two sons. However, the marriage ended in the 1960s. Gascoine was then left to bring up her two sons alone and did not see Keith after they divorced.
Gascoine suffered from clinical depression for most of her life, which she believed stemmed from her unhappy time in a boarding school as a child.
In June 2013, Gascoine publicly revealed that she had Alzheimer's disease at a Beverly Hills gala which was set up to raise money to fight the disease. In August 2016 her husband Alfred Molina reported that she was "in a very advanced stage of Alzheimer's", and had been in a specialist care home in Los Angeles for more than two years, where she died on 29 April 2020, aged 83.
|1959||The White Trap||Nurse|
|1960||The Pure Hell of St Trinian's||St. Trinian's Girl|
|1961||Nudist Memories||Narrator (voice)||Short|
|1975||Confessions of a Pop Performer||Mrs. Barnwell|
|1990||King of the Wind||Mrs. Williams|
|1958||Theatre Night||Ensemble||Episode: "Expresso Bongo"|
|1970||Dr. Finlay's Casebook||Marion Bradley||Episode: "A Good Prospect"|
|1973||Z-Cars||Lucy Manning||Episode: "Operation Watchdog"|
|1973||Late Night Theatre||Fred||Episode: "Three Card Trick"|
|1973||Six Days of Justice||Miss Owen||Episodes: "A Regular Friend", "Stranger in Paradise"|
|1973||Oranges & Lemons||Charlotte||Episode: "The Trigger"|
|1974||Dixon of Dock Green||Lorna McDermot||Episode: "The Unwanted"|
|1974||A Little Bit of Wisdom||Sister Ruth||Episode: "The Angels Want Me for a Sunbeam"|
|1974||Justice||Elizabeth Lee||Episode: "Growing Up"|
|1974||General Hospital||Michelle Hawkins||Episode: "1.177"|
|1975||Within These Walls||Irene||Episode: "Remand Wing"|
|1975||Softly, Softly: Taskforce||Maggie Grant||Episode: "Grass"|
|1975||Prometheus: The Life of Balzac||Helene de Valette||Episode: "The Human Comedy"|
|1975||Beryl's Lot||Hilda Monks||Episode: "Safety First"|
|1976||Peter Pan||Wendy (adult)||TV film|
|1976||Plays for Britain||Marion||Episode: "Sunshine in Brixton"|
|1976–1979||The Onedin Line||Letty Onedin||Main role|
|1977||Holding On||Betty||Episode: "1.4"|
|1977||Raffles||Dolly||Episode: "A Costume Piece"|
|1977||Rooms||Ruth Harris||TV series|
|1978||The Three Kisses||Mrs. Marigold||TV film|
|1980–1984||The Gentle Touch||Maggie Forbes||Main role|
|1983||The Cannon and Ball Show||Ilsa||Episode: "The Cannon & Ball Easter Show"|
|1985–1987||C.A.T.S. Eyes||Maggie Forbes||Main role|
|1989||Home to Roost||Judy Schwartz||Episode: "Bridge of Sighs"|
|1990||Taggart||Jane Antrobus||Episode: "Evil Eye: Part 1"|
|1991||El C.I.D.||Sarah||Episode: "Thursday's Child"|
|1991||Boon||Jo Beckett||Episode: "The Night Before Christmas"|
|1992||Virtual Murder||Victoria Fleming||Episode: "A Dream of Dracula"|
|1992||Screen One||Vivien Empson||Episode: "Trust Me"|
|1994||Northern Exposure||Lady Ann||Episode: "Shofar, So Good"|
|1998||The Patron Saint of Liars||Mother Corrine||TV film|
|1999||Touched by an Angel||Ms. Piper||Episode: "Voice of an Angel"|
- Kevan, Paul (19 October 2009). "Jill Gascoine cast in EastEnders". Metro. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- Green, Kris (23 October 2009). "'EastEnders' recasts Glenda Mitchell". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- "Thanks for the memories - Jill Gascoine interview". Scotland On Sunday. 3 August 2008. Archived from the original on 11 October 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- "The Gentle Touch actress Jill Gascoine reveals she has Alzheimer's". Mirror UK. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- Power, Vicki (4 November 2016). "Alfred Molina: 'My mother and I had a few moments that were like the third act of Aida'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
- Moses, Toby (29 April 2020). "The Gentle Touch star Jill Gascoine dies aged 83". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2020.