11 April 1937 |
Lambeth, London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Bill Keith (divorced); 2 children
Alfred Molina (1986-present); 1 stepchild
Jill Gascoine (born 11 April 1937, Lambeth, London) is a British actress and novelist. She is most widely 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 has published three books.
Gascoine began her acting career in theatre in the 1960s and she had regular roles at the Dundee Repertory Theatre. Her early work also included collaborations with future film and television director, Ken Loach.
From 1970 onwards, Gascoine began appearing in television roles and made appearances in series such as Z-Cars, General Hospital, Rooms, Dixon of Dock Green, Softly, Softly: Taskforce and Within These Walls. In 1975, she had a part in British sex-farce Confessions of a Pop Performer. She then had a recurring role playing Letty Gaunt in the 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 around 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-oriented 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.
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. Since moving there, Gascoine has made appearances on US television in series such as Northern Exposure and Touched by an Angel, as well as performing extensively in theatre. Though she still lives in Los Angeles, she returned to the UK in 2008 to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, appearing in Colette Freedman s 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. Interestingly, Gascoine's real-life husband Alfred Molina is an English actor of Italian/Spanish descent and is 16 years her junior. This was followed by her second novel, Lillian (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.
Gascoine has been married twice. Her first husband was Dundee hotelier Bill Keith, with whom she had two sons. However, the marriage ended in the 1960s, in part because of Keith's gambling addiction. Gascoine was then left to raise her two sons alone and has not seen Keith since they divorced.
In 1997, Gascoine was found to have kidney cancer, though the disease was detected early and she made a full recovery.
Gascoine has stated she suffered from clinical depression for most of her life, which she believes stems from her unhappy time in a boarding school as a child.
- Green, Kris (23 October 2009). "'EastEnders' recasts Glenda Mitchell". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- Jill Gascoine interview in Scotland On Sunday, 3 August 2008
- Marriages England and Wales 1984-2005
- Gascoine reveals she has Alzheimers. 9, June 2013