(NEW YORK) — Mrs. Doubtfire star Mara Wilson was too devastated last week to talk about the death of her on-screen father, Robin Williams.
However, in a new blog post, she opened up about what he was like to work when she was little.
“Robin would do anything to make me and the other kids laugh,” she wrote. “He seemed to know instinctively what we would find funny, and never had to resort to saying anything that was inappropriate for children. He was, after all, a father himself.”
Williams, who died of an apparent suicide on Aug. 11 at the age of 63, was, “warm, gentle, expressive, nurturing and brilliant,” Wilson wrote. To make her and her on-screen siblings laugh, he’d do voices and make jokes (“When we were filming the climactic dinner party scene, he would make his carpet bag bark like a dog under the table, then order it to be quiet,” she wrote), and even entertained them with shadow puppets that would later appear in Aladdin.
However, she noted that he was shyer around adults, with her mother once telling her friends that he rarely made eye contact. (“I figured he must have been different with grown-ups,” Wilson wrote she thought at the time.) She came to the same conclusion when she reunited with Williams during a table reading of the 1998 film What Dreams May Come.
“My strongest impression came when we saw each other for the first time that day. Robin crossed to me from across the room, got down to my level, and whispered ‘Hi, how are you?’ He asked how my family was doing, how school was, never raising his voice and only sometimes making eye contact,” she recalled. “He seemed so vulnerable. ‘So this is what Mom meant,’ I thought. It was as if I was seeing him for the first time. He was a person now.”
After that, the two mostly lost touch, though Wilson did recall running into the actor while he filmed the 2007 movie, August Rush. At the time, Wilson could tell “he truly cared” about how she was doing.
“Many of my friends are comedians who were inspired by him, but others just loved his movies and comedy and had since their childhoods. If you can affect someone when they’re young, you are in their heart forever. It is remarkable how many lives Robin touched, and how many people said, just as I had, that he reminded them of their fathers,” she wrote, before quoting her Mrs. Doubtfire character. “I suppose — could I really end this any other way? — we’re all his goddamn kids, too.”
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