Matthew Lawrence, who was barely a teenager when he starred opposite Robin Williams in the 1993 blockbuster comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire,” has revealed the late comedy icon gave him a “gift” on set by advising him never to do drugs. Williams battled with substance abuse throughout his career. Lawrence cited Williams’ advice as the reason he stayed away from drugs as he grew up in Hollywood.
“He was the first adult who really let me in on his condition. Like, full-on let me in,” Lawrence said (via People). “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.”
Lawrence recalled Williams telling him, “Don’t ever do drugs. Especially cocaine.”
“He was very serious,” Lawrence added. “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.”
Lawrence might not have been cast in “Mrs. Doubtfire” if it wasn’t for Williams in the first place. The actor said that casting for the role of Chris Hillard came down to him and another child star. The studio allegedly preferred the other actor, but that changed after Williams pulled a prank on Lawrence during an audition.
“[Robin] very secretly reached behind my back and pinched me so hard,” Lawrence said, adding the pinch made him shout out in pain. “The studio started bawling and wept. I got the role because of that little moment over the other boy. It was all Robin Williams. ‘I know what I’m going to do to get this kid this job.’ Thank you, Rob.”
Williams died in 2013 at the age of 63. With just over $440 million at the worldwide box office, “Mrs. Doubtfire” was one of the actor’s biggest comedy films. Williams won the Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy, while the film took home the Oscar for makeup.