Mara Wilson

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Mara Wilson
Born Mara Elizabeth Wilson
(1987-07-24) July 24, 1987 (age 28)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence New York City, New York
Occupation Actress, voice actress, writer, playwright
Years active 1993–present

Mara Elizabeth Wilson (born July 24, 1987) is an American actress, voice actress, stage actress, writer, and playwright. She is best known for her roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda Wormwood in Matilda.

Early life[edit]

Mara 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.[1] Wilson's mother was Jewish and her father is of part Irish descent.[2][3][4][5] Mara was raised Jewish,[6] but she became an atheist when she was 15.[7] She has three older brothers, Danny, Jon, and Joel, and a younger sister, Anna.[8] Wilson's cousin is political commentator Ben Shapiro.[9] Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer on March 10, 1995. By the time the doctors found the cancer it was too late.[10] Suzie Wilson died on April 26, 1996 while Wilson was filming "Matilda". The movie was dedicated to Suzie's memory.[11] Mike has since remarried. After her mother died, Wilson lost her passion for acting.[12]

When Wilson was twelve, she was diagnosed with Obsessive–compulsive disorder.[13]


Wilson became interested in acting through her oldest brother Danny, who acted as a hobby. After several months of acting in commercials, Mara auditioned for the 1993 film Mrs. Doubtfire, and won the part. This was followed by the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Though bewildered by the attention she got, she enjoyed acting, likening it to immersing herself in a book rather than as a job.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] In 1998 Wilson went to a table reading of What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams, but she did not get the part.[17] Her appearance in the 2000 film Thomas and the Magic Railroad was her last major film role to date. At that point, scripts were being sent to her so that she did not have to go to auditions.[18] Before she retired from acting, she got the script for Donnie Darko, but declined to audition for the film.[19]

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."[20]

In May 2013, Wilson wrote an article for online magazine, offering her opinion of the delinquency of some former child stars.[5] She now works for Publicolor and is hoping to break into young adult novels,[21] and has written her first Off Broadway play, entitled Sheeple.[22] In an interview that December, Wilson stated that her film acting days are over,[23] and is now focusing on writing instead of film acting.[24]

Wilson 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.[25] Wilson has her own storytelling show called What Are You Afraid Of?[26] Her goal is to turn What Are You Afraid Of? into a podcast.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson went to the Idyllwild Arts Academy near Palm Springs, California, and graduated in 2009 from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[5][28][29] While at New York University she appeared in her own one woman show called Weren't You That Girl?[30]

Wilson has struggled with anxiety and depression. In 2015, she teamed up with Project UROK, a nonprofit organization whose mission to aid teens with mental illness.[31] Wilson appeared in a video in which she speaks about her mental illnesses with which she has coped during her life, including anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.[32]

As of 2013 she lives in New York City, in part, she has explained, because "No one gives a shit about celebrities. Susan Sarandon comes to your deli, Lou Reed's in your kickboxing class, David Mamet flips you off, whatever, most New Yorkers really don't care."[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Natalie "Nattie" Hillard Debut film
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"[33]
Nostalgia Chick Episode: "Matilda"[34]
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"[35]
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"[36]

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: Boobs"[37]
Nostalgia Chick Episode: "Nostalgic Foods of Yore"
Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Episode: "The In Too Steep Tea Party"
Maven of the Eventide Pumpktoberfest Vlogs, Episodes 5 and 12
2015 Keith and The Girl Episode: "2147: Gang Dick"[38]
That's the Show with Danny Episode: "117: The One with Mara Wilson"[39]
Gilmore Guys Episode 4.21



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


  • Sheeple (2013)
  • (K) for Kid (2016)[41]


  1. ^ "Mara Wilson Biography (1987-)". 
  2. ^ I'm half Jewish and a quarter Irish. I BURN. RT @Pixiebybirth Do you burn, tan or none of ze above? on Twitter.
  3. ^ @rare_basement He is short, half-Jewish, dark-haired, acted in an adaptation of a British kids' book and has a nickel allergy. HE IS ME. on Twitter.
  4. ^ Mara Wilson Interview Pt. 2 — Running Late with Scott Rogowsky on YouTube
  5. ^ a b c d Wilson, Mara (May 28, 2013). "7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider's Perspective)". Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "She’s His G–damn Kid Too: Mara Wilson On ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ 20th Anniversary". MTV News. 
  7. ^ Zachary Stewart (August 7, 2013). "Atheism, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, and Sheeple with Mara Wilson and Max Reuben". 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "Justin Bieber a symptom of a big problem". KTTH. 
  10. ^ "Lessons in Courage". 
  11. ^ WENN. "Mara Wilson - Matilda Star: 'Danny Devito And Perlman Helped Me When Mum Lost Cancer Battle' -". 
  12. ^ "Why Hollywood didn't want the child star of Matilda, Mara Wilson". NewsComAu. 
  13. ^ "What is Mara Wilson afraid of?". The Daily Dot. 
  14. ^ Mara Wilson (April 22, 2013). "Being Matilda - Special Reports - April 22, 2013". theatermania. 
  15. ^ Archerd, Army (March 14, 1995). Oscars plan to 'Make 'em Laugh'. Variety.
  16. ^ "‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson Reviews ‘Matilda the Musical’". The Daily Beast. 
  17. ^ ABC News. "Mara Wilson Recalls Robin Williams 'Was Different With Grown-Ups'". ABC News. 
  18. ^ "Mara Wilson Interview". 
  19. ^ "Mara Wilson on the sickness-induced reason she hates Gary Jules’ “Mad World”". 
  20. ^ "Child Star Mara Wilson: Why I Quit Film Acting". April 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Where Are They Now? #1: Mara Wilson". 
  22. ^ "Sheeple". NYC-ARTS. 
  23. ^ Neumyer, Scott. "Mara Wilson Talks Matilda, the Loss of Her Mother, and Quitting Acting". Parade. 
  24. ^ "Matilda Reunion! Mara Wilson and Kiami Davael Are Still Friends and Hanging Out 19 Years Later—See the Photo!". E! Online. February 11, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Mara Wilson Inks Deal with Penguin Books". 
  26. ^ "Mara Wilson’s ‘What are you afriad of?’ at Union Hall". The Brooklyn Paper. 
  27. ^ "Interview: Former ‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson on Leaving Hollywood and Becoming a Writer  : Longreads Blog". Longreads Blog. 
  28. ^ Ghert-Zand, Renee (April 18, 2012). "Mara Wilson Hated Being a Movie Star". The Forward.
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "Mara Wilson On Child Stardom, Morons Wanting to "Party With Matilda" - NYU Local". NYU Local. 
  31. ^ Mara Wilson On Dealing With Mental Illness In The Public Eye
  32. ^ Pittman, Taylor (May 5, 2015). "Mara Wilson's Important Message For Teens Living With Mental Illness". The Huffington Post. 
  33. ^ "A Simple Wish". May 1, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Matilda". October 11, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Missed Connection: "Bad Dates"". Comediva. January 30, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  36. ^ "31 - A Blinking Light up on the Mountain from Welcome to Night Vale on podbay". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Boobs (Keith and The Girl) - Comedy Talk Show & Podcast". Keith and The Girl. June 25, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Gang Dick (Keith and The Girl)". Keith and The Girl. March 16, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ "The One with Mara Wilson (That's the Show with Danny)". That's the Show with Danny. March 19, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  40. ^ Joshua L. Weinstein. "Unconventional kudos nab stars". Variety. 
  41. ^ "Child star of 'Mrs. Doubtfire,' 'Matilda' strikes memoir deal". Yahoo News. October 16, 2014. 

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