Mara Wilson made her film debut at the age of six in the 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, starring alongside Robin Williams and Sally Field. In 1994 she appeared in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street as the little girl whose task it is to prove the magic of Santa Claus, and two years later played the title character in Matilda. The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's book, which was one of her favorites as a child. After starring in three other films, Wilson retired from film acting. She graduated from Idyllwild School of Music & Arts in 2005 and then attended New York University. In 2015, after a fifteen-year hiatus from acting, Wilson returned in the comedy-drama Billie Bob Joe. The following year she appeared in an episode of the TV show Broad City that paid homage to the Heimlich scene in Mrs. Doubtfire.
Her latest efforts are mostly focused off-screen, with a regular appearance on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale and voice roles for animated TV and film. Her written work has appeared on Elle. com, McSweeney's, the New York Times, Vanity Fair, the Daily Beast, Jezebel, The Toast, and elsewhere. Her play Sheeple premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2013, and she is the author of the 2016 autobiography Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, which was listed in NPR's "Guide to 2016's Great Reads." Wilson also posts regularly on her blog-Shan't We Tell The Vicar?--where she tells stories of Hollywood, friendships, parental loss, mental health, and more.
Diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at the age of twelve, and having dealt with depression and anxiety as well, in 2015 Wilson partnered with Project UROK--a nonprofit geared towards teens and young adults with the goal of ending the stigma and isolation of mental illness. "It's very hard to be a perfectionist growing up in the film world," she said in a 2014 interview. "It reinforces all of your worst fears about perfection and doing things right. It got me into what I think is a pretty toxic mental pattern for a kid, and it's taken me years to break out of that." In 2016, Wilson came out as bisexual.
Mara Wilson was honored by the American Humanist Association with the 2019 LGBTQ Humanist Award, which she accepted on June 8 at the AHA annual conference at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. The following are her remarks in acceptance of the award, reprinted with her permission.
I had a very strange childhood. A lot of people are...