After taking time off from social media following the news of Robin William’s death, Mara Wilson has released a lovely tribute to her Mrs. Doubtfire co-star. Wilson, who played Williams’ youngest daughter in the film, discusses what it was like to work with the comedy legend and gifted improviser. She explains that he contributed so much to Mrs. Doubtfire—including improvising the famous “impression of a hot dog” scene—that he may as well have been given a partial screenwriting credit.
Wilson also recalls how Williams entertained the kids on set with hand puppets (that would later make their way into Aladdin), poop jokes, and elaborate comedy bits. “He seemed to know instinctively what we would find funny, and never had to resort to saying anything that was inappropriate for children,” she writes, “He was, after all, a father himself.” (Lisa Jakub—who played Wilson’s older sister in Mrs. Doubtfire—also shared fond memories of Williams’ compassion for his costars.)
Wilson, who no longer acts but is a writer with a big social media presence, ends her piece with thoughts on Williams’ shyness, vulnerability, and struggles with depression. She notes that the increased focus on mental health in the wake of Williams’ death is positive, but asks that the world not romanticize his mental anguish and instead focus on his accomplishments. As other tributes have echoed, Wilson writes: “If you can affect someone when they’re young, you are in their heart forever. It is remarkable how many lives Robin touched.” The full piece is available on Wilson’s website.