Hello! It's been 22 years since Robin Williams' classic comedy Mrs. Doubtfire premiered, but no cast or crew member has ever spilled secrets from the San Francisco set— until now! Former child star Lisa Jakub, who played Williams and actress Sally Fields' eldest daughter Lydia in the hit film, tells all in her upcoming memoir, You Look Like That Girl: A Child Actor Stops Pretending and Finally Grows Up.
When Jakub met eventual onscreen siblings Matt Lawrence and Mara Wilson during auditions, the trio bonded immediately. "We adored each other and I jumped at the chance to have siblings, if only for an afternoon," she writes.
The late Williams looked so much like his alter ego, housekeeper Mrs. Doubtfire, he tricked the child actors into believing he was a real woman! On the first day of rehearsals, before the children ever saw Williams in full costume, Jakub, Lawrence and Wilson had lunch with a strange woman, whom director Chris Columbus introduced as his mother. "It was only when we returned that we found out that we had just had lunch with Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire," Jakub reveals. "We had completely fallen for it— hook, line, and latex bosoms."
Jakob says that Williams, "a notoriously hairy man," went through great pains to obtain the smooth skin of a woman. Makeup artists "went so far as to shave his knuckles and the backs of his hands," she writes. "He once caught me staring at the stubble that grew by the minute on his fingers and called me out on it."
Though the child actors worked long hours on set, they still had time to act like kids. "Matt brought his dog along to San Francisco and we would play fetch with Jack in the fancy ballroom of the beautiful and historic St. Frances Hotel," Jakub recalls. "Mara and I ordered butterfly chrysalides through the mail and kept them protected in a mesh tent until they were ready to be released."
Williams was always very playful on set, singing the Marx Brothers tune "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" whenever Jakub walked into a room.
When fans began to crowd the set, Jakub says she was assigned a very unique bodyguard. "His name was Fuzzy and he was a Hell's Angel," the actress, now 36, writes in her new book, in stores and online June 15. "If anyone even came close to me…Fuzzy would hold me above his head with one hand like I was a waiter's tray, as he kicked aside whoever posed the slightest threat to my well-being."
Drop out! After missing months of class for the long shoot, Jakub was kicked out of her Ontario, Canada high school. "They were frustrated with my frequent absences and felt that I was not giving my education the proper attention," she explains. "It was my first break up."
Williams attempted to help the devastated Jakub get back into school. "He promptly asked for the principal's address and wrote an incredibly kind note," she writes. "He spoke about me in embarrassingly glowing terms."
Though the principal wasn't persuaded to ask Jakub back, she says she heard he framed Williams' letter!
After filming, Jakub became truly famous, and soon became the victim of a potential kidnapping! At a party, a woman convinced the young actress to get into her car to meet her children next door, claiming her mother and the party's hostess had approved. The mystery woman, who had never actually spoken with Jakub's mother or the party hostess, eventually brought the terrified teen back to the party unscathed. "I had been a little trinket for her to collect," she believes.