Mara Wilson On Losing Her Mother To Cancer And The Perils Of Being A ‘Cute’ Child Actor

Mara Wilson has opened up about what it really takes to transition from a “cute” child actor to a legitimate adult professional in Hollywood. Mara Wilson, one of Hollywood’s most memorable child stars, is all grown up now and revealing the harsh truth about the movie industry.

Mara Wilson used to soak up Hollywood fame when she was a kid, starring in such iconic movies of the 90s as Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire alongside Robin Williams.

As a child star, Mara Wilson was commonly referred to as “cute,” but by the time she was a teen, there were little to no acting offers anymore because her looks inevitably changed as she grew up.

Speaking to Today Extra’s Sonia Kruger and David Campbell, Mara Wilson opened up about facing the decision about whether to have plastic surgery so that she could “fit Hollywood’s image” and revive her once-blossoming career.

Mara Wilson says she was facing the decision whether to have plastic surgery in order to be Hollywood material again or “find my own way and do my own thing,” according to the Daily Mail.

Mara Wilson opted for the non-surgery option even though she saw no light at the end of the tunnel with looking “natural.” After retiring from acting in her teens, she went on to become an accomplished writer.

Mara Wilson, who since then has attempted to elbow her way back into the industry by starring in several films and TV series in small parts, says this is why she “hates” being called cute.

“I appreciate the word cute in its own way, but when I was young and cute, I felt like I was being reduced to that, I felt like it was out of my control.”

Saying that being called “cute” left her feeling miserable in her teens after her looks started changing, Mara Wilson also reminisced about how she got into the movie industry in the first place.

Mara Wilson explained that in southern California, childhood acting “isn’t that big of a deal.” The young actress decided to try her acting chops – like other Californian kids commonly do – and did a few commercials before auditioning for Mrs. Doubtfire, in which she starred opposite Sally Field, Robin Williams, and Pierce Brosnan.

Mara Wilson accepts an award at the 9th Annual Shorty Awards
Mara Wilson accepts an award at the 9th Annual Shorty Awards. [Image by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]

While Mara Wilson’s family initially thought Mara’s acting would be “a fun adventure,” her acting career took an unexpected turn and she “got cast in another movie and another movie and another movie and another movie and another movie and I became accidentally semi-famous,” says Mara, now 29-years-old.

Despite her blossoming and smooth acting career in the 90s, Mara Wilson’s life had its ups and downs. Shortly after Mara wrapped filming for Matilda alongside Danny DeVito, her mother died of cancer. Mara was just 8-years-old at the time.

Mara Wilson revealed that DeVito was such “a wonderful person” that he made sure Mara’s mother saw the film starring her daughter before passing away, even though the official release was many months away.

So the actor took a print of the 1996 film and showed it to her, Mara Wilson says, adding that DeVito was “like second family at that time.”

Mara Wilson on the set of 'Thomas and the Magic Railroad,' one of her last childhood roles
Mara Wilson on the set of 'Thomas and the Magic Railroad,' one of her last childhood roles, at 12-years old. [Image by Paul Vathis/AP Images]

While it’s unclear if Mara Wilson and DeVito are still in touch more than two decades after completing work on Matilda, one thing is clear for sure: the actress-turned-writer will no longer attempt to conquer Hollywood, as acting is “not worth sacrificing my life and face and experiences for,” the Mrs. Doubtfire actress says.

Last year, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reported that more than 56 percent of facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables with patients under 30-years-old.

Shape reports that social media is a major factor that “drives” people to have plastic surgery.

[Featured Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]