AN­NIVER­SARY OF MRS DOUBTFIRE Robin was like a fa­ther to us

25TH

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Halina Watts SHOW­BIZ EDI­TOR

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.

In­spire

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’.”

Preyed

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.

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