Groundbreaking British TV Actress Jill Gascoine Passes Away at 83

British actress and novelist Jill Gascoine has passed away at the age of 83 after living with Alzheimer's for around a decade.

Her son Adam Gascoine shared the sad news on 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."

Gascoine made TV history in 1980 when she was cast as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in The Gentle Touch, the first British police procedural to feature a female lead. She starred in all four seasons of the ITV drama, then reprised the role in spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes, which ran for three seasons from 1985 to 1987.

The Gentle Touch has recently been added to the Amazon Prime streaming service, and you can check out the opening titles below.

Gascoine also had a main role in '70s British shipping drama The Onedin Line and made guest appearances in long-running British procedurals including Taggart, Z-Cars, and Dixon of Dock Green. In the '90s, she made several U.S. TV appearances including episodes of Northern Exposure and Touched By an Angel. During the same decade, she also launched a second career as a novelist.

She is survived by her two sons and second husband, actor Alfred Molina, whom she married in 1986. Molina revealed in 2016 that Gascoine was living with "a very advanced stage of Alzheimer’s" and had moved into a facility in Los Angeles for specialist care.

R.I.P. Jill Gascoine.