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Jill Gascoine Is In Final Stages Of Alzheimer's, Reveals Devoted Husband Alfred Molina

"She is on her own path, it is too late for her."

08/11/2016 13:44

Former ‘Gentle Touch’ star Jill Gascoine is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, according to her devoted actor husband Alfred Molina.

Alfred, who stars in this week’s BBC ‘Close to the Enemy’ - Stephen Poliakoff’s socio-political thriller set in London just after WWII - tells Radio Times:

“Jill is in a very advanced stage of her Alzheimer’s. She is on her own path, it is too late for her.”

Alfred and Jill have been married for 30 years, and the actor first noticed a change in his wife around seven years ago.

Will Ragozzino via Getty Images
Alfred Molina with his wife of 30 years, Jill Gascoine

“There were signs then, but when it’s someone that you’re close to, someone you love, it’s the last thing you want to believe, so you’re almost in a state of denial.”

Based on his own experience, Alfred believes money spent on research into a cure for the disease is pointless. “Millions and millions of dollars and pounds going into this pit and we were getting nowhere. Whereas now, with more knowledge and understanding, you can at least start to prepare yourself.”

Alfred, who got his big break when he was cast by Steven Spielberg in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, remains as busy as ever 30 years after marrying Jill, and 25 years after moving to Los Angeles, even though filming projects like ‘Close to the Enemy’ in Liverpool was a wrench.

“It is difficult to be away,” he says. “But I have to work just to be able to provide for her care and I was encouraged by Jill’s family and friends to do that.”

The actor doesn’t believe he would have had the career he’s enjoyed if he’d stayed in the UK.

“There are not as many actors from a working-class background getting the chances to work. Working-class families often don’t have the money to send their kids to posh drama schools.

“People like me, Julie Walters, Brian Cox, in our 60s, were the last generation that could honestly say we were educated from the age of five to 25 and it didn’t cost us a penny. There was a society in place that made it possible. My dad was a waiter, my mother cleaned rooms in a hotel, and that was not an unusual scenario for actors of my generation. But now, if you haven’t been to Eton you’re f***ed.” 

ITV
Jill in her prime... as the star of ITV's 'The Gentle Touch'

For Alfred, though, it’s been a good run, including projects like ‘Letter to Brezhnev’, ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘An Education’. He says himself he specialises in “swarthy foreigners”.

He says: “Slightly dubious people, ethnically ambiguous people. So I was incredibly excited when Harold [a mysterious Foreign Office official] in Close to the Enemy came along, a character who is so far away from that.”

‘Close to the Enemy’ is on BBC Two on Thursday at 9pm. Read the full interview with Alfred Molina in next week’s Radio Times, on sale now. 

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