Robin Williams may have passed away nearly seven years ago, but his powerful legacy can still be felt with those he impacted before death.
In this case, it’s Lisa Jakub — the former child star who played William’s eldest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire — who is speaking out about a fateful encounter with the über-talented comedian during her time on the set of that iconic movie.
Jakub, who has left the industry and is now an author and public speaker, connected with Yahoo! Entertainment for a new interview about the late Patch Adams star and her experiences with him while filming. The ex actress, who also appeared in films like Independence Day before leaving show business, got candid about how Williams used his own experiences with anxiety and depression to help her after she confided in him that she was struggling as a teenager.
Lisa recalled how the Good Morning, Vietnam lead treated her with respect and dignity while being honest about how to best fight off mental health demons (below):
“Robin was everything that you would hope he would be, and he was very open and honest with me about his issues with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with him that anxiety was something that I struggled with, and he would talk to me about mental health issues in a way that 14-year-olds aren’t usually used to adults being really open about those sorts of personal experiences with them.”
Perhaps most interestingly, it sounds like it was Williams’ advice specifically that kept Jakub on a clean and healthy path forward on her life into adulthood. That is, the Dead Poets Society actor explicitly explained to his then-teenage co-star how substance abuse didn’t do anything to help persistent mental health issues.
The now-42-year-old mental health advocate recalled:
“He was very insistent in making sure that I knew that substances were not going to help. That that was a route that he had gone with addiction and that it just made everything worse. And I think as a 14-year-old kid actor, it’s a really good story to get, a really good message to hear, because that does tend to be a well-worn path for a lot of kid actors.”
No kidding. And seriously, that advice alone has done wonders for Jakub’s own life even after leaving the entertainment industry and growing up. Now, years after Williams’ death, sadly by suicide, it’s as if he’s still having an impact on the world he left behind.
Jakub clearly feels that way, too. By teaching mental health workshops and helping others learn to cope with anxiety and depression as part of her life now, the former actress knows she’s doing important work in keeping Robin’s legacy alive:
“I feel like that is one of the ways I’m kind of paying forward some of the things that Robin taught me by being so open.”
A lesson well learned, too!
We don’t need to run through his impressive acting credentials for you to know how warm and authentic and empathetic Williams was on screen for so many years.
To keep hearing stories like this about his behind-the-scenes life, then, only makes his legacy that much stronger. And it only makes us miss him that much more.
See Lisa and Robin onscreen together (below):
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