Jill Gascoine, star of 80s TV shows like ‘The Gentle Touch’, is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, her husband, actor Alfred Molina, has revealed.
Gascoine, who is 79, has been suffering from the degenerative disease for the last four years, with Molina now describing her outlook as ‘bleak’.
“Alzheimer’s is a cowardly disease. It creeps up on you from behind and by the time you realise you’ve got it you’re probably not realising much else. It’s a stinker,” he told the Radio Times.
“It’s not like cancer or an illness that announces itself. With cancer you’ve got a fighting chance, you can gather your resources and focus on it and, with luck, you can conquer it.
“Every Alzheimer’s case is unique unto itself – the only thing that unites them all is the outcome is always the same. Ultimately, you end up on the same path.”
Molina, who is 16 years his wife’s junior, compared her fight with the disease to that of novelist Terry Pratchett, who suffered from Alzheimer’s up until his death last year.
“Not everyone can approach Alzheimer’s with the bravery that Terry Pratchett showed,” he added.
“I’m scared of a lot of things. Every time I can’t find my wallet, every time I forget where I left my car keys, I’m thinking, ‘Oh, Jesus.’ I have to remind myself there’s a difference between not remembering where you put your car keys and, when you find them, not knowing what they’re for.
“I’ve seen that happen at close range – I know the difference.”
Gascoine was a huge star in the 80s, playing the lead in the ITV cop show ‘The Gentle Touch’, which regularly pulled in audiences of 18 million, and also starred in the show’s spin-off ‘C.A.T.S. Eyes’.
She revealed that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s in 2013, while appearing at a charity gala in Beverly Hills to raise money for research into the disease.
Molina, who’s starred in films like ‘An Education’, ‘Chocolat’, and ‘The Da Vinci Code’, recently told The Guardian that his wife has been in a specialist home now for two years.
“It has been tough, but no tougher than what a lot of others go through,” he said.