Those old enough may remember the mid-90’s movie Matilda—it was a comedy film based on a Roald Dahl book of the same name. The story follows a little girl who uses her psychic powers to thwart her sadistic school principal.
The film stretches reality in characteristic Dahl style, and Mara Wilson, who played the movie’s main character when she was just 9 years old, delivered a perfect performance that captured the spirit of Matilda and made her a household name.
Mara has all but disappeared from the public eye since her award-winning performance in 1996, leaving many to wonder what she’s been up to.
Aside from the occasional cameo, Mara’s largely been focused on writing. She runs a blog and has published two books so far. Her latest memoir, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame, was released in 2016 and details many important events from her past, including the death of her mother, Suzie.
One year ago today. Happy birthday, book! pic.twitter.com/HDZZsOfan0
— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) September 14, 2017
Suzie was the driving force in Mara landing her most famous role. As a kid, Mara loved reading and being read to. Matilda was one of the many stories that Suzie would read to her. When it came time to cast the film, it was Suzie who encouraged her daughter to audition, thinking that such a strong, intelligent character would fit her daughter well.
So, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during the film’s production in 1995, it came as a shock to the heart.
Co-stars Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman supported her by watching Mara whenever her parents needed to visit the hospital. They played awful parents in the movie, but were exceptionally kind to her in real life, having formed a bond with the young Mara during the filming process.
Suzie passed away on April 26, 1996, before Matilda ended post-production.