ANNIVERSARY OF MRS DOUBTFIRE Robin was like a father to us
COMIC genius Robin Williams, who brought joy to millions, was also like a dad to child costars in one of his best films.
Tragic Williams took his role as matronly housekeeper Mrs Doubtfire to heart by offering advice to his on-screen children between takes.
The late actor, who had battled alcohol and cocaine, openly talked to them about the dangers of drugs.
And Lisa Jakub, talking as Mrs Doubtfire celebrates its 25th anniversary, took his warnings to heart.
She played his daughter Lydia and is still devastated by his 2014 suicide, aged 63, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Lisa, now a 39-year-old writer, recalls him telling her and co-star Matt Lawrence, then 13, to avoid drugs as they would ruin their lives.
Lisa said: “Robin said this to both Matt and I – we took this to heart. He was continually saying ‘Don’t ever do drugs, they will ruin your life’.
“That was pretty impactful. I never did drugs.”
Williams also talked to Lisa about the anxiety and depression which plagued his life.
She said: “I was so appreciative and in awe of him because he was so open and honest and candid with me about his own struggles with substance abuse and depression.
“It truly did inspire me to be more open and honest about those things.
“It meant so much to me at age 14 that this adult really talked to me like I was a peer. I felt less alone, less ashamed and more like I could be more honest about the things that were going on with me.”
Lisa also saw another side of the zany Oscarwinning star.
She said: “He had a very quiet, introspective side and was very sweet and almost a little shy. I always loved being able to see that side of him.”
In Mrs Doubtfire, Williams plays a bitter divorced actor who disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his kids. Earlier this month Lisa met some of the comedy’s co-stars – Pierce Brosnan, 65, Matt Lawrence, 38, and Mara Wilson, 31 – for a TV interview to mark the anniversary.
She said they all remembered how close they had been on set, like a family. She recalled their favourite scene was when Mrs Doubtfire pelts Pierce’s character Stu with fruit.
Laughing, she said: “All of us have such affection for the ‘run-by fruiting scene’. The fruit did actually hit him on the head on the second take.”
After Williams’ death, an examination of his brain tissue suggested he suffered from diffuse Lewy body dementia. His wife Susan Schneider called the disease “the terrorist inside my husband’s brain”.
She said: “Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain’.”
Lisa said: “I still have a hard time talking about him and his death because it really is just so heartbreaking to realise he was struggling so much.
“He had a tremendous impact on my life.”
Lisa has written two books, You Look Like That Girl and Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression And Learning To Embrace Your Weird. She quit Hollywood at 22, partly because she was preyed on by men in the industry. She said it was good women feel empowered through the #Metoo movement.