Robin Williams Brought Some Mrs. Doubtfire Wisdom To The Set Of Jumanji

It is often said that we shouldn't meet our heroes because they are bound to be a disappointment. While I am sure that might be true for some, it doesn't appear to be the case with Robin Williams.

If you grew up in the '90s, Williams' movies were likely a part of your childhood. Whether he was dancing to Aerosmith as Mrs. Doubtfire or teaching prep school kids to think for themselves, he always brought something magical to his roles.

While he began his career as a stand-up comedian, he quickly moved on to a TV role, "Mork & Mindy," before finding his home in films like "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Jack," and "Jumanji." The guy was super talented and it shows in all the work he left behind.

It turns out, on top of being funny, and talented, Williams was also a kind person, the sort of guy who would hang out and share tips with a child actor stuck in a makeup chair.

'Euphegenia Doubtfire, dear'

One of my favorite Robin Williams movies is "Mrs. Doubtfire." As far as I'm concerned, it is one of his best comedic performances in a film, and every move he makes is golden. Williams pulled at our heartstrings as a recently divorced father separated from his children while simultaneously making us double over with laughter as Euphegenia Doubtfire. While his acting ability made the transition between the two characters' personalities look easy, the physical transformation from Daniel to Euphegenia was a lot more complicated.

The face of Mrs. Doubtfire was made up of eight latex pieces that fit together seamlessly once applied to Williams' face. Then, makeup was applied to the latex to create the face of a 60-something-year-old woman. The look was completed with a wig and some fake teeth. The process took 4.5 hours.

Williams is always overflowing with energy on screen, so I have a hard time imagining him sitting still for that long, but he had the ability to turn the zeal on and off as he pleased. Makeup artists found him such a pleasure to work with that, when Yolanda Toussieng, Greg Cannom, and Ve Neill won an Oscar for their work on the film, Toussieng thanked Williams:

" ... We would like to thank, most of all, Robin Williams for his beautiful portrayal and his patience as Mrs. Doubtfire."

Like Williams' on-screen personae, kids are balls of energy waiting to explode, so when one of his young costars had to go through a grueling makeup process, Williams helped him through it.

Sharing makeup tips

Two years after playing everyone's favorite nanny, Robin Williams starred in "Jumanji." He portrayed Alan Parrish, a boy trapped in a board game until someone rolls a five or an eight. Decades later, Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and her brother, Peter (Bradley Pierce), find and play the game, which results in Alan being freed.

The character Williams plays in the film has more of an edge to him than Mrs. Doubtfire. He has spent decades in a harsh jungle, hunted by nightmarish things, so we don't see Williams' typical funnyman on screen. But behind the scenes, Williams was patient and generous with his castmates.

The only way to beat the game is to finish it, so the characters continue to play throughout the movie, which causes all kinds of shenanigans to unfold. Peter attempts to cheat, and the game punishes him by turning him into an animal. He grows fur and his facial features contort to resemble that of a monkey. Of course, this meant the 12-year-old playing Peter was going to have to spend considerable time in a makeup chair.

Pierce spoke to the New York Times about his "Jumanji" makeup and how Williams helped him through it:

"It was three and a half hours of makeup application every day for almost 70 days, and as a 12-year-old boy, sitting still for longer than five minutes can be challenging ... One day early in the shoot, Robin sat in one of the makeup chairs next to me to keep me company and give me tips on how to get through the application process, because he had done it on 'Mrs. Doubtfire.' He was incredibly kind and generous with his time, energy, and wisdom."

Pierce didn't share exactly what the tips were, but I'd be willing to bet one of them included laughter.

Legacy of laughs

Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014, but he will live on forever in the characters he created and the laughs they continue to pull out of us. While Williams' energy and quick wit will forever command all the attention on screen, he was different out of the spotlight.

In his successful career as a comedian and actor, Williams touched the hearts of a lot of well-known people, which included former President Barack Obama, Kathy Bates, and Steve Martin. After his passing, they all expressed their love and respect for his talent and personality through social media. He was most often described as, kind, generous, and genuine.

I would have liked to have met him, and I'm certain I wouldn't have been disappointed.