Before retiring from Hollywood, Lisa Jakub played Robin Williams’s teenage daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire.
Recently, she took time to look back on that part of her life and offer a personal, heartfelt farewell to Williams on her personal blog. Here is what she had to say.
“When I was 14 years old, I went on location to film Mrs. Doubtfire for five months,” Jakub writes. “My high school was not happy. My job meant an increased workload for teachers, and they were not equipped to handle a ‘non-traditional’ student. So, during filming, they kicked me out.”
“When I arrived at work the next day, Robin noticed that I was upset and asked me what was wrong. I explained what had happened, and the next day, he handed me a letter that he wrote to my school. He explained that I was just trying to continue my education while pursuing my career. He wrote embarrassingly kind things about my character and my work, and requested that they reconsider and allow me to return to my classes.”
“The school framed the letter. They hung it in the principal’s office. But they didn’t invite me to return to school.”
“But here’s what matters from that story. Robin stood up for me. He was in my corner. I was only 14, but I had already seen that I was in an industry that was full of back-stabbing. And it was entirely clear that Robin had my back.”
“I know I said ‘thank you’ at the time and I’m sure I wrote one of those stiff thank you notes that 14-year-olds write with slanting lines and spelling mistakes. But that all seems so insufficient now.”
“Even though I had not spoken with Robin in a very long time, I always assumed there would be some future opportunity to tell him that his letter changed my life.”
“None of us really know what fights Robin was battling, but I know his struggles were not uncommon. It’s estimated that 16 million people in the US have struggled with depression – and I include myself in that statistic. It’s real and it’s not shameful and there is help available.”
“You can bring it to the light, you can tell the truth, you can go to a meeting, you can reach out to a friend.”
“None of us are alone.”
“And if you have someone in your life that you are grateful for – someone to whom you want to write another heartfelt, slanted, misspelled ‘thank you’ note – do it. Tell them they made you feel loved and supported. That they made you feel like you belonged somewhere and that you were not a freak.”
“Tell them all of that.”
“Tell them today.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The Williams family is asking well-wishers to send contributions to charities close to the actor’s heart in lieu of flowers. Suggested organizations include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Challenged Athletes, USO, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.