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‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Teen Star Says Robin Williams Was First to Speak “Super Honestly About Mental Health” With Her

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox / Bane / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox / Bane / MovieStillsDB

When Mrs. Doubtfire was released in 1993, it was a box office hit. The film saw Robin Williams in a role that would become one of his most iconic and remembered. However, other members of the cast remember him for much more. Teen star Lisa Jakub spoke with Fox Digital and reflected on how it was Williams who first made her feel comfortable with mental health struggles.

She said it was Williams who first openly spoke with her about mental health

Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire and Lisa Jakub facing one another.
Robin Williams and Lisa Jakub worked together on the set of ‘Mrs. Doubtfire.’ (Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox / CaptainOT / MovieStillsDB)

Jakub was just 15 years old when she starred in the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire alongside Robin Williams. She fondly recalled how it was he who first spoke openly with her about mental health struggles. “[He was] probably one of the first people who ever really spoke to me super honestly about mental health,” she explained. “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.'”

Despite her young age, Jakub recalls enjoying her time working with the late actor and appreciates that she got to spend that experience with him. “Robin was everything you would hope Robin would be, and it’s so wonderful to think back on him now,” she said. “[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.”

Williams’ work with veterans inspired her

Headshot of Robin Williams.
Robin Williams attends the “Mrs. Doubtfire” Beverly Hills Premiere on November 22, 1993, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

Jakub discussed how, after they had completed filming Mrs. Doubtfire, she was told that Williams was consistently working with and helping veterans. She learned that he always made sure that veterans had the opportunity to be a part of the film crews of the movies he worked on. Later on in life, Jakub founded a nonprofit organization called Mission Flexible, which helps support veterans suffering from anxiety and depression, and linked this work to Williams.

“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.

He helped her in other ways too

Headshot of Lisa Jakub.
Lisa Jakub attends the premiere of “Mrs. Doubtfire” on November 22, 1993, at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection / Getty Images)

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Jakub sat down with her co-stars to speak on the Brotherly Love podcast, where she remembered that Williams had tried to help her in other ways when she was young. During filming for Mrs. Doubtfire, Jakub had to take time off from attending high school. Because of this, she was kicked out altogether. It was Williams who tried to get her re-enrolled.

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“The amazing thing was Robin saw that I was upset — he asked me what was going on,” Jakub said. “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.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!