Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Co-Star Pays Sweet Tribute on Anniversary

Thirty years ago today, Robin Williams first charmed audiences in the beloved family comedy Mrs. Doubtfire.

Starring as Daniel Hillard—a down-on-his-luck father who disguises himself as a housekeeper to spend more time with his kids—the 1993 movie is one of the late actor’s most memorable performances. So much so, that Williams met with director Chris Columbus shortly before his death in 2014 to discuss a sequel.

“I will always remember the instant feeling of family we had on set,” Lisa Jakub—who played Williams’ daughter Lydia in the film—told Newsweek. “It was pretty magical.”

To celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, Jakub shared her memories of Williams with Newsweek, including how the actor inspired her to become a mental health advocate.

Robin Williams in  'Mrs. Doubtfire,' 1993
Robin Williams in a scene from the 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire.” The role of Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire is one of Williams’ most beloved.ARCHIVE PHOTOS/STRINGER/MOVIEPIX

Jakub was 14 when she joined the cast of Mrs. Doubtfire as one of the Hillard children, alongside Boy Meets World actor Matthew Lawrence and Matilda star Mara Wilson.

Jakub played eldest sister Lydia, a teen navigating the difficult divorce of her parents, along with her two siblings. Sally Field also starred as Miranda—the children’s mother and Williams’ estranged wife—while Pierce Brosnan appeared as her love interest and Williams’ rival, Stuart.

Jakub grew close to her co-stars during filming, with the set having a genuine “family” feel.

Robin Williams and Lisa Jakub, Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Euphegenia Doubfire and Lisa Jakub as Lydia Hillard. Jakub was 14 years old when she starred alongside Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”20TH CENTURY FOX

“That doesn’t always happen, sometimes your co-workers are just that,” she said. “But the three of us felt like siblings, we saw that Robin and Sally cared for us like parents.”

Wilson describes a similar experience while working on Mrs. Doubtfire. The 36-year-old, who played youngest child Natalie, said Williams did everything he could to entertain her between takes.

While filming the dinner table scene, where Hillard is trying to juggle attending two dinners at the same restaurant, Williams began rapping about the life of an ant.

“He used chopsticks as antennae and at the end of the scene he used them again to get me to smile,” Wilson told Variety in 2018. “They left that part in, but cut out his song and dance about it. He could really riff on anything.”

He Taught Me That I Didn’t Need To Be Ashamed

As well as being a father figure to Jakub, Williams also supported the teen with her mental health battle.

“I’ve had lifelong anxiety, and Robin was so open with me,” she said. “He shared his own struggles and helped me understand that I was not alone.

“He taught me that I didn’t need to be ashamed about what I was dealing with.”

Robin Williams in 2006
Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV’s Total Request Live on April 27, 2006, in New York City. Williams died by suicide in 2014.PETER KRAMER/GETTY IMAGES ENTERTAINMENT

Williams died by suicide in 2014 at the age of 63, after a long battle with mental illness and addiction. The Oscar-winner had also been in the early stages of Lewy Body Dementia when he passed away.

Jakub retired from acting at the age of 22 and now runs two mental wellness non-profits; Blue Mala and Mission Flexible.

“Blue Mala is a pay-what-you-can membership community with yoga, meditation, writing prompts and breathing exercises. Basically all the things I find to be most valuable for my own mental health,” she said.

Mission Flexible supports military veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, and includes four-day mindfulness retreats in various locations across the U.S.

“Robin inspired me to do the work I do now—supporting others with their mental wellness,” Jakub said. “He is a big reason that I am committed to this work. I want to offer other people the deep sense of acceptance and belonging that Robin gave me.”

Lawrence credits Williams with keeping him away from drugs. At Connecticut Convention 90s Con in 2022, the 43-year-old recounted conversations with Williams in his trailer.

“I mean, as bright as he was on camera—I would go visit him in his trailer to talk to him – it was painful for him,” Lawrence said. “He didn’t hide it. He talked to me about it.”

Williams told the teen, “Don’t ever do drugs. Especially cocaine,” with Lawrence describing the advice as a “gift.”

“He was like, ‘You know when you come to my trailer and you see me like that?’ That’s the reason why,'” Lawrence said.

“‘And now I’m fighting for the rest of my life because I spent 10 years doing something very stupid every day. Do not do it,'” he recalled Williams saying.

“I stayed away from it because of him,” Lawrence said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button