Robin Williams Defended ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Kid to Her High School Principal

Could Williams deliver a Hollywood ending?
Robin Williams Defended ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Kid to Her High School Principal

Despite what Sally Field says, Robin Williams wasn’t such an unreliable dad after all. At least that’s what his oldest Mrs. Doubtfire kid, Lisa Jakub, knows after Williams came to her rescue during filming. 

“I got thrown out of high school on Doubtfire,” Jakub said during a Mrs. Doubtfire reunion with her movie siblings Mara Wilson and Matthew Lawrence on Lawrence’s Brotherly Love podcast. “I’m Canadian. I was attending high school in Canada, then I left for four months to film the movie. We were going to set up this system, pre-internet, where I’d mail my school work back and forth to the school. We did that for a while.”

That is, until Jakub’s high school decided it no longer wanted to be part of the arrangement. Despite three hours a day of on-set tutoring over two months of filming, she said, “My school in Canada sent a note saying, ‘You know, this isn’t working for us anymore. Don’t come back.’”

Jakub, who was only in the ninth grade at the time, was devastated. “It was just so heartbreaking,” she said, “because you know I had this life that was very unusual and that was the one normal thing.”

Joey Lawrence related, noting that he continued to attend high school in Philadelphia while he worked on the West Coast. “It was a little dicey at times trying to figure out the way it works,” he explained, “but being there for my graduation … if I hadn’t had an opportunity to do that, it would have been very traumatic for me.”

Things looked bleak until Jakub’s adult costar stepped in. “The amazing thing was Robin saw that I was upset,” she remembered. “He asked me what was going on. I explained. He wrote a letter to my principal saying that he wanted them to rethink this decision, that I was just trying to pursue my education and my career at the same time and could they please support me in this.”

This sounds like the perfect setup for a Hollywood ending, but the head of Jakub’s high school was worse than Principal Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “This principal got the letter, framed the letter, put it up in the office … and didn't ask me to come back,” she said. 

Jakub, who later got her GED and studied writing at the University of Virginia, sounds like she learned more from Williams than she would have at her lousy high school anyway. “I’d been working for a decade when I started Doubtfire, but we had always used a script. I knew when it was my turn to speak,” she said. “Then you go on set with Robin, and it’s like who the fuck knows what’s going to happen now? And so you had to be really present. I had to be present with the other person in the room and I actually had to listen.”

“You’re just going to go with it,” she concluded, “because he’s Robin, and you can trust him.”  


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