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Robin Williams' life was not an easy one. His struggles with substance abuse and depression were well known long before his death. However, it seems that rather than try to simply move on from his past, the actor tried to use his experiences to help others as he was apparently quite open with the young kids on the set of Mrs. Doubtfire about his drug use and the problems it caused him later in life. Lisa Jakub, who played daughter Lydia in the film says that Williams' honesty with her on the set was incredibly powerful and it's something that has helped her throughout her own life. According to the actress...
One of the most powerful things for me about working with him is that he was very open and honest with me talking about his issues with addiction, depression, and that was so powerful to me at 14. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life.
We all go through struggles in life but teenagers have a harder time than most. A 14-year-old Lisa Jakub dealing with her own anxiety issues probably felt pretty alone, so hearing an adult tell her that he has those issues too and for that adult to be somebody like Robin Williams, is probably quite powerful. If Robin, somebody who was a never-ending ball of energy on the set of the film, can also suffer from depression, then it can happen to anybody.
Robin Williams was also very public about his substance abuse, making it a part of his stand-up routines over the years, but whether talking to a comedy crowd or a child actor, it seems Williams was equally willing to discuss the problems that drugs can cause. Matthew Lawrence says that Robin specifically told him not to get into drugs on the set, and used his personal experience as the reason. According to Lawrence...
Robin...was like a guiding force. Like he would just, all of a sudden out of the blue look over to me like, 'By the way, don't do drugs! Really messed up my brain! I'm serious. Do not do them.' I was like 'Ok!' That stuck with me.
The comments from the now, not so young actors came from an interview with Today that took place in memory of the 25th anniversary of Mrs. Doubtfire. Matthew Lawrence and Lisa Jakub were joined by Mara Wilson and Pierce Brosnan who also remembered the experience of making the movie, and working with Robin Williams.
It's clear from watching these people speak, who worked with Robin on one movie a quarter century ago, that his loss is still felt by them. It's a testament to just what an impact Robin Williams had on so many people. Whether you knew him or were simply a fan, a presence like his is not something that is easily replaced. Even years after his death we're all still feeling it.