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Where Are They Now? #1: Mara Wilson

by Paul Heath


Saturdays are a little quiet in Hollywood. All of your favourite celebs are out and about doing those more mundane chores, like shopping for nappies, or the weekly Tesco shop (do they have Tescos in Tinseltown?) or even doing what we do here at THN Towers, which is do that thing we don’t get a huge amount of time during the working week. Watch a bloody movie. Anyway, because there won’t be as much movie news hitting THN over Saturday and Sunday, we’ve been trying to come up with a few cool features to share with you, and this is the first… Where Are They Now? The Forgotten Legends.

Have you ever sat down the boozer and had a little chat amongst your mates when you star talking about some random film from the 1980s or something… and then this sentence rears its ugly head; “I wonder whatever happened to… [insert name]?” Do you get me? Well, each and every Saturday, we will feature one of these lost Hollywood starlets and see what they are up to now, starting with…

Mara Wilson


Name not ring a bell? Well, don’t bloody Google her, read on.

Wilson shot to international stardom in the 1993 film MRS. DOUBTFIRE opposite Robin Williams in a career defining role, and one Pierce Brosnan in one of his last pre-Bond efforts. The film was a massive success, and the world fell in love with the six-year-old Wilson, who played Natalie “Nattie” Hillard, on screen daughter to Williams’ Daniel Hillard. Here’s young Mara, sandwiched between Williams in drag and Sally Field (right).


The film grossed a massive $441 million across the world back in 1993, and was the third-highest grossing film of the year, behind THE FUGITIVE and some film called JURASSIC PARK, and Wilson was an instant star.


From ‘Doubtfire,’ Wilson went on to star in the remake of the classic Christmas movie MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET opposite British legend Richard Attenborough, who was also riding on the crest of a wave after the huge success of JURASSIC PARK. The film is based on the story of Kris Kringle, a Santa look-a-like who is drafted in at the last minute to assume the role of the big guy for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City – but….. it turns out that Kringle might just be the real mccoy. Wilson plays the character of Susan in the film, the daughter of the woman who finds Kringle walking the streets of NYC and immediately employs him as the new Santa at the department store. Everyone thinks that Kringle is the real thing, bar young Susan, who needs quite a bit more persuading. The film, which incidentally was scripted by the late legend John Hughes, didn’t quite match the success of ‘Doubtfire’, taking just $46 million worldwide upon on its release in 1994. That didn’t stop young Wilson though, who went next to play the biggest role of her life so far, a lead in Danny DeVito’s MATILDA.


The film, based on the book by Roald Dahl and released in 1996, was met with commercial and critical acclaim, particularly for the young Wilson, now 8-years-old and gaining notice in many award categories, including a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor for MATILDA.

From MATILDA, Wilson only appeared in three other movies, 1997’s A SIMPLE WISH, BALLOON FARM in 1999 and finally THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD in 2000 (Alec Baldwin also worked on it FYI). In between there were parts in Melrose Place, Pearl and a voice role in Batman Beyond in 1999…

So, where is she now? Well, I cannot find any further credits for the now-25-year-old Wilson, but we did manage to track her down on the web (not in a weird, sinister way we will add, but in a more nostaligic, inquisitive way for this very article). According to her blog, Wilson has written plays, and now also spends her time writing for non-profit organisation Publicolor (hit the link to see what they’re about). She also regularly tweets to 23,000 follows on the micro-blogging site @MaraWritesStuff and has contributed to internet review shows for That Guy with the Glasses.

A recent interview saw Wilson say that she wants to break into young adult novel writing.

In 2012, Wilson stated on her blog that she had no desire to return to acting. I guess the big question is, why? The former child star answers that very question and more over at MaraWilsonWritesStuff.com.

Imagine that when you were a child, you liked to finger-paint. It was a fun pastime, but it came easily to you, so you never took much pride in it. Regardless, you got a reputation for your finger-painting. Now imagine that, fifteen to twenty years later, people are coming up to you and telling you that they have your finger-paintings up on their walls and that your finger-paints changed your life. It’s flattering, but you haven’t finger-painted in years, and it seems like something you did a long, long time ago. You’ve realized you don’t particularly enjoy getting your hands dirty and that there are other outlets for your creative urges. But people are adamant: are you going to finger-paint again? When? Wait, you’re not? Why not?

That’s what it feels like.

Fair enough.

There’s a great recent interview with Wilson by Doug Walker over here where his first question is; ‘So I notice you’ve got boobs…’

And, here’s what she looks like now…


Great stuff, but truly Mara, thank you for the movies… Still a legend.

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1 comment

Barbara Hyman Mar 22, 2013 - 2:43 pm

I really liked this article. So many articles are jam full of worthless info and stupid opinions. This one is interesting.


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