Mrs. Doubtfire is now almost thirty years old, and the unlikely story of an estranged father disguising himself as a Scottish nanny in order to maintain contact with his children has continued to pick up fans over the years, and many appreciate it as a camp comedy classic.
Attendees to the inaugural ’90s Con’ in Hartford CT over the weekend showed some love to star Matthew Lawrence, who played Williams’ character’s son Chris. Now 42 years old, Lawrence clearly remembers working with Williams, who was very open with the young actor about his life.
“He was the first adult who really let me in on his condition. Like, full-on let me in. I mean, as bright as he was on camera — I would go visit him in his trailer to talk to him — it was painful for him. It’s really painful for him. He didn’t hide it. He talked to me about it.”
He also revealed one specific piece of advice Williams gave him:
“‘Don’t ever do drugs. Especially cocaine. He was very serious. He was like, ‘You know when you come to my trailer and you see me like that?’ He’s like, ‘That’s the reason why. And now I’m fighting for the rest of my life because I spent 10 years doing something very stupid every day. Do not do it.’ I stayed away from it because of him.”
Williams famously used cocaine and other substances heavily in the 1970s, though the 1982 death of his friend John Belushi from a drug overdose a day after the two had partied together was a big wake-up call. As Williams succinctly put it: “it sobered the sh*t out of me”. He also credited taking up cycling as saving his life and helping him deal with depressive episodes.
Lawrence continues to work as an actor, scoring the role of Jack in Boy Meets World in the late ’90s and going on to a long television and movie career.
There has also been some discussion of a Mrs. Doubtfire 2 entering production, though director Chris Columbus has described making it as “impossible” without Williams. It’s hard not to agree, maybe it’s best to let some franchises lie dormant.
Mrs. Doubtfire is available to stream on Disney Plus.