Mara Wilson

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Mara Wilson
Born Mara Elizabeth Wilson
(1987-07-24) July 24, 1987 (age 27)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, stage actress, voice actress, playwright, writer, story teller
Years active 1993–2014

Mara Elizabeth Wilson (born July 24, 1987) is an American former child actress, writer, playwright, stage actress, voice actress, and storyteller. She is best known for her roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda Wormwood in Matilda. She made her acting debut in a Lunchables commercial.[1] At first Mara's parents refused to let her go into acting, but they eventually agreed.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson was born in Los Angeles, California on July 24, 1987. She is the oldest daughter of Mike Wilson, a television broadcast engineer, and the late Suzie Shapiro Wilson, a homemaker.[3] She has three older brothers, Danny, Jon, and Joel, and a younger sister, Anna.[4] Wilson's cousin is political commentator Ben Shapiro.[5] Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer on March 10, 1995, but by the time the doctors discovered this, it was too late.[6] Suzie Wilson died on April 26, 1996 while Mara was filming "Matilda". The movie was dedicated to Suzie's memory.[7] Mike has since remarried.

Wilson's mother was Jewish and her father is of part Irish descent.[8][9][10][11] Wilson was raised Jewish.[12] She also became an atheist when she was 15.[13] She studied at New York University (NYU).[14] When Wilson was at NYU she had her own one woman show called "Weren't You That Girl?"[15] In 2013, Wilson insisted that her film acting days were over.[16] When Wilson was twelve, she was diagnosed with OCD.[17]


After watching her eldest brother Danny act in commercials, Wilson developed an interest in film acting at the age of five. Wilson's film debut was in the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire, followed by the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street. In 1994, she had a recurring role as Nikki Petrova on Melrose Place and played Barbara Barton in the television film A Time to Heal.

Wilson sang "Make 'Em Laugh" at the 67th Academy Awards telecast on March 27, 1995, with Tim Curry and Kathy Najimy.[18] In 1995, she won the ShoWest Award for "Young Star of the Year". Her performances in those films caught the attention of Danny DeVito and led to her being cast as the titular character in Matilda.

Wilson won a Young Artist Award for her role in A Simple Wish in "Best Performance in a Feature Film Leading Young Actress" and a Young Star Award for Matilda in "Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film". She was twice nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor, for Matilda and A Simple Wish. In 1999, she played Willow Johnson in the 1999 Disney Channel television film Balloon Farm. Wilson auditioned for the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, but she was considered to be too young for the role.[19] In 1998 Wilson went to a table reading of "What Dreams May Come" starring Robin Williams, but she didn't get the part.[20] Her appearance in the 2000 film Thomas and the Magic Railroad was her last major film role to date. Once Thomas and the Magic Railroad was completed, she decided to focus on school instead of film acting. At that point in her career, scripts were being sent to her so that she didn't have to go to auditions.[21] Before she retired from acting, she got the script for Donnie Darko, but declined to audition for the film.[22]

In 2012, Wilson appeared briefly in one episode of a web series called Missed Connection in the role of Bitty and made special appearances on internet review shows for That Guy with the Glasses — most notably a comedic turn playing an adult Matilda during a review of Matilda by The Nostalgia Chick, Lindsay Ellis.

In 2012, Wilson explained why she quit film acting. "Film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director's eyes, you 'get it right', does not allow for very much creative freedom. The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself, but those were rare."[23]

In May 2013, Wilson wrote an article for online magazine, offering her opinion of the delinquency of some former child stars.[24] She now works for Publicolor and is hoping to break into young adult novels,[25] and has written her first Off Broadway play, entitled Sheeple.[26]

Wilson also has a recurring role on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale as "The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home." Wilson has been signed to Penguin Books. Her debut book "(K) for Kid" will be available in 2016.[27] She has her own story telling show called "What Are You Afraid Of?".[28] Her goal is to turn "What Are You Afraid Of?" into a podcast.[29]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Natalie "Nattie" Hillard
1994 Miracle on 34th Street Susan Walker
A Time to Heal Barbara Barton TV movie
1996 Matilda Matilda Wormwood Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film
Won—Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film
1997 A Simple Wish Anabel Greening Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film
Nominated—Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film
1999 Balloon Farm Willow Johnson TV movie
2000 Thomas and the Magic Railroad Lily Stone Nominated—Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Melrose Place Nicole "Nikki" Petrova 5 Episodes
1996 Pearl Samantha Stein Episode: "The Tutor" (season 1 episode 11)
1999 Batman Beyond Tamara (voice) Episode: Mind Games (season 2 episode 10)


Year Series Role Notes
2012 Nostalgia Critic Herself Episode: "A Simple Wish"[30]
Nostalgia Chick Episode: "Matilda"[31]
Demo Reel Donnie DuPre's wife (voice) Episode: "Lost in Translation (Bromance Version)"
Shut Up and Talk Herself Episode: "Guest: Mara Wilson"
Missed Connection Bitty Episode: "Bad Dates"[32]
Filmed in 2011
2013 Welcome to Night Vale The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home Episode: "26 - Faceless Old Woman"
Episode: "31 - A Blinking Light up on the Mountain"
Episode: "Condos"[33]

Episode: "The Debate"
Episode: "49 - Old Oak Doors"
Episode: "53 - The September Monologues"
Episode: "The Librarian"
Episode: "65 - Voicemail"
Episode: "66 - worms..."

2014 Keith and The Girl Herself Episode: "2002"[34]
2014 Nostalgia Chick Herself Episode: "Nostalgic Foods of Yore"
2014 Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Herself Episode: "The In Too Steep Tea Party"
2014 Maven of the Eventide Herself Pumpktoberfest Vlogs, Episodes 5 and 12



  • Cinderella (2005)
  • Weren't You That Girl? (2009)
  • What Are You Afraid Of? (2014)


  • Sheeple (2013)
  • (K) for Kid (2016)


  1. ^ "Entertainment & the Arts - Young Mara Wilson Builds A Fairy-Tale Film Career - Seattle Times Newspaper". 
  2. ^ Mara Wilson (April 22, 2013). "Being Matilda - Special Reports - Apr 22, 2013". theatermania. 
  3. ^ "Mara Wilson Biography (1987-)". 
  4. ^ MALHAM Jr, HOWELL J. (July 26, 1994). "To Her, It's Kids' Stuff : Movies: Mara Wilson, 7, is earning praise from her co-stars in the upcoming 'Miracle on 34th Street,' but acting is just something she says she likes--for now". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ "Justin Bieber a symptom of a big problem". KTTH. 
  6. ^ "Lessons in Courage". 
  7. ^ WENN. "Mara Wilson - Matilda Star: 'Danny Devito And Perlman Helped Me When Mum Lost Cancer Battle' -". 
  8. ^ "Twitter". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Twitter". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ RunningLateShow (March 16, 2013). "Mara Wilson Interview Pt. 2 — Running Late with Scott Rogowsky". YouTube. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ Wilson, Mara (May 28, 2013). "7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider's Perspective)". Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ She’s His G–damn Kid Too: Mara Wilson On ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ 20th Anniversary
  13. ^ Atheism, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, and Sheeple with Mara Wilson and Max Reuben
  14. ^ "What happened to the original Matilda? As the hit musical dominates Olivier awards, former child star Mara Wilson". London: Daily Mail. April 17, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  15. ^ Mara Wilson On Child Stardom, Morons Wanting to Party With Matilda
  16. ^ Mara Wilson Talks Matilda, the Loss of Her Mother, and Quitting Acting
  17. ^ What is Mara Wilson afraid of
  18. ^ Archerd, Army (March 14, 1995). Oscars plan to 'Make 'em Laugh'. Variety.
  19. ^ "‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson Reviews ‘Matilda the Musical’". The Daily Beast. 
  20. ^ Mara Wilson Recalls Robin Williams Was Different With Grown-Ups
  21. ^ "Mara Wilson Interview". 
  22. ^ Mara Wilson on the sickness-induced reason she hates Gary Jules' Mad World
  23. ^ "Child Star Mara Wilson: Why I Quit Film Acting". April 17, 2012. 
  24. ^ 7 reasons child stars go crazy (an inside view) on, May 28, 2013
  25. ^ "Where Are They Now? #1: Mara Wilson". 
  26. ^ "Sheeple". NYC-ARTS. 
  27. ^ Mara Wilson Inks Deal with Penguin Books
  28. ^ Fright night: Former child star debuts story telling night
  29. ^ Interview: Former "Matilda" Star Mara Wilson on Leaving Hollywood and Becoming a Writer
  30. ^ "A Simple Wish". May 1, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Matilda". October 11, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Missed Connection: "Bad Dates"". Comediva. January 30, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  33. ^ "31 - A Blinking Light up on the Mountain from Welcome to Night Vale on podbay". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Boobs (Keith and The Girl) - Comedy Talk Show & Podcast". Keith and The Girl. June 25, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Mara Wilson". Who's Dated Who?. 

External links[edit]