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Robin Williams’ kind gesture to make teenage girl not feel like a ‘freak’

Robin Williams smiling
Robin Williams’ sweet gesture to teenager revealed (Credits: Shane Partridge/Shutterstock)

Lisa Jakub, who worked with Robin Williams as a teenager on Mrs Doubtfire, has revealed how kind the actor was towards her and helped her to not feel like a ‘freak’.

Lisa, 45, starred in the cast 1993 classic film as Lydia Hillard, the eldest of Daniel Hillard’s (played by Williams) three children when she was 14 years old.

The film was an instant classic and saw the comedy legend play a desperate father who dresses in drag and prosthetics just so that he could find a way to spend time with his children during a messy divorce from his wife, played by Sally Field. 

The cult classic also starred Matilda child star, Mara Wilson and James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, who previously spoke about Williams’ ‘humanity and passion for all of us as actors’ and revealed that the Mork and Mindy star would arrive on set every day at 4am in a 2023 interview with GQ.

It is this kindness and passion that he is remembered for today, and Lisa reflected on her role from more than 30 years ago and revealed the kind words she received from her famous co-star.

‘(He was) probably one of the first people who ever really spoke to me super honestly about mental health,’ she said.

The cast of Mrs Doubtfire including Robin Williams
Robin in character with his on-screen children (Picture: Snap/Rex/Shutterstock)

‘And he would talk to me about his struggles and the things that he went through. And it was the first time that I felt like, “Oh, I’m not a freak. I don’t have to hide this about myself. This is just something that some of us have to deal with”,’ she added to Fox News Digital.

Williams, who would be 72 if he was alive today, took his own life in August 2014, at the age of 63 after suffering from depression and a form of dementia.

The actor was open about suffering from depression, and alcohol and drug addiction earlier in his life and how he was supported by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, he was asked if he was happy: ‘I think so. And not afraid to be unhappy. That’s OK too. And then you can be like, all is good. And that is the thing, that is the gift.’

Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, and Matthew Lawrence smiling
Mara Wilson, Matthew Lawrence and Lisa Jakub who played on-screen siblings in 2024 (Picture: marawilson/Instagram)
Lisa Jakub smiling
Lisa is now older than Robin was when he played her father in Mrs Doubtfire (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

In the new interview, the actress also revealed: ‘Robin was everything you would hope Robin would be, and it’s so wonderful to think back on him now… (I am) grateful that I got to be in his presence, that I got to be working with him, that he was so kind to me.’

Lisa has now stepped away from the entertainment industry and founded a program to help prevent veteran suicide.

She said that in a strange coincidence, she has since learned that Williams worked with unemployed war veterans to help them find work as extras on his film sets. 

‘So many people have told me that Robin did a lot of work with the veteran population as well and that he always had production crews hire local veterans to be background actors or things like that on set, which is not something I ever knew about when I worked with him… but I also love that little connection as well,’ she said. 

This isn’t the first time Lisa has spoken about Williams’ kindness towards her. She revealed in a Brotherly Love podcast that he wrote to her school principal when she was set to be kicked out for taking time off to shoot Mrs Doubtfire.

‘He wrote a letter to my principal saying that he wanted them to rethink this decision and that I was just trying to pursue my education and career at the same time, and could they please support me in this.’

The principal got the letter, framed the letter, put it up in the office, and didn’t ask me to come back. Amazing,’ she revealed, explaining that despite his best efforts, the letter was unsuccessful.

A scene from Mrs Doubtfire including Robin Williams
The cast on set of Mrs Doubtfire (Picture: Snap/Rex/Shutterstock)

Earlier this year, Matthew Lawrence, who also starred as one of the children in the film, spoke about the possibility of a reboot of Mrs Doubtfire.

The actor revealed that before Williams’ passing, a reboot was on the cards: ‘I mean, in 2014, they were talking about it, and everybody was kind of buzzing about it. And then obviously [Williams] passed away. So I don’t know.’

‘I wouldn’t want to do it without him personally,’ he concluded.

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