Star of The Gentle Touch, Jill Gascoine, is dead at the age of 83. The actress had been battling Alzheimer's disease for the last 10 years. According to Variety, her son Adam Gascoine confirmed her death via Facebook writing, "She suffered from Alzheimer's for 10 years, so today was a thankful release. The family is all well, and relieved that she's not suffering any more." He continued to tell his followers that given the circumstances with the coronavirus pandemic, there would not be a memorial but that they would likely plan services in both London and Los Angeles.
Adam went on to add, "She was a wonderful human and a spirit of truth and absolute, unconditional love. There was no other. I am happy she's moved on. Please raise a glass. Be kind and love deeply!"
Gascoine was known for her role as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in the ITV drama. Her character went on to play a part in the spin-off C.A.T.S. Eyes, and she also starred in The Onedin Line in the 1970s. More recently, in 2009, she was set to play in EastEnders as Glenda Mitchell, however, she ended up withdrawing from the role. At the time, she said, "Having spent the last 15 yeas working in America ... I felt on arrival I lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama. I have tremendous respect for EastEnders and the cast so I don't want to let the show or my fellow cast members down."
Gascoine moved to Los Angeles, California in the 1990s after marrying actor Alfred Molina. The southern California city would also be her place of death. In 2016, Molina confirmed that his wife was "in a very advanced stage' of the disease.
Gascoine was born in London in 1937 and got her acting career started in theater before landing any major roles on TV. Once her career launched, she got roles on shows like Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and Rooms. She also appeared on the comedy Confessions of a Pop Performer. Since the news of her death, fellow co-stars and actors alike have come forward to pay tribute. Jake Wood, who starred in EastEnders, gives Gascoine credit to him chasing his dreams to become an actor.
"My first TV job was aged 11 in The Gentle Touch," he posted on Twitter. "I have never forgotten her generosity and kindness to me. Her welcoming me to the industry with such open arms and encouragement inspired me to want to become an actor."