How Long It Took Robin Williams To Transform Into Mrs. Doubtfire (Wasn't Just A Fat Suit)


How Long It Took Robin Williams To Transform Into Mrs. Doubtfire (Wasn’t Just A Fat Suit)

It took more than just a fat suit to transform Robin Williams into the iconic nanny Mrs. Doubtfire, with much of the process taking up a lot of time.


  • Robin Williams’ transformation into Mrs. Doubtfire required hours of prosthetic work and makeup, showcasing the dedication of the talented makeup artist, Ve Neill.
  • The painstaking process of creating Mrs. Doubtfire’s realistic appearance, including a multi-piece latex mask, paid off with critical acclaim and accolades for the film.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire’s success as a comedy classic can be attributed in part to the incredible hair and makeup achievements, which earned the film an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hair.



It wasn’t just a fat suit and Robin William’s iconic comedic charm that brought the caricature of Mrs. Doubtfire alive, for it also took a long, laborious process of prosthetic and cosmetic work to get the character’s image just right. Williams starred in the early ’90s hit comedy centered around a down-on-his-luck voice actor named Daniel as he struggles through divorce and losing custody of his children. In fear that he may never see his kids again, Daniel makes a last-ditch effort to spend time with his family by posing as an elderly British nanny and answering the classified ad his ex-wife released for help around the house.

Of course, to fool his ex-wife, his children, and onlooking audiences into believing his disguise, Williams’ character needed a costume convincing enough to hide his identity from his family and real enough for viewers to suspend their disbelief of Daniel’s ability to dupe his loved ones for so long. In the Mrs. Doubtfire film, Daniel seeks help from his brother Frank, a makeup artist, and his domestic partner, Jack, to create a Mrs. Doubtfire costume. However, in real life, it took, not only Williams’s versatile acting chops but, the time and talent of a team of award-winning makeup artists to truly nail the conceivability of Euphegenia Doubtfire in one of Robin Williams’ best movies.

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Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire Transformation Took 4 Hours

Known for her incredible, imaginative efforts in films such as Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, and Pirates of the Caribbean, Mrs. Doubtfire’s leading makeup artist Ve Neill has had a long and successful career in makeup artistry for film. Just a fragment of her talent was displayed in Mrs. Doubtfire, yet reports of her work for the movie demonstrate an evident dedication to her craft. According to Buzzfeed, Neill worked with multiple prosthetics and spent nearly four and a half hours a day transforming Williams into the legendary nanny.

On top of the full-body suit and conservative attire that were used for Williams’ transformation, Neill fashioned Mrs. Doubtfire’s likeness with a multi-piece latex mask and extensive makeup. The multi-piece mask, designed by fellow artists Dick Smith and Greg Cannom, was pieced together and painted daily by Neill in an excruciatingly long and painstaking process. Neill was challenged with molding the prosthetics into one seamless mask that allowed for an array of facial expressions and reproducing Mrs. Doubtfire’s blemishes and wrinkles every day for set – but her efforts weren’t made in vain, and Williams’ long transformation process paid off in the best possible way.

How Robin Williams’ Long Mrs. Doubtfire Transformation Paid Off

Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire has forged a legacy as one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time, which is no hard feat considering it had the renowned Robin Williams at its helm. With Williams commanding the lead as Mrs. Doubtfire, the comedy film racked up various awards and nominations for Best Actor, Best Motion Picture, Best Comedy, and more. Among its slew of awards, the critical consideration of Mrs. Doubtfire’s hair and makeup accomplishments helped to prove the film was a stroke of genius in every aspect.

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Alongside Cannom and Yolanda Toussieng, Neill assisted Mrs. Doubtfire in acquiring an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hair/Best Makeup respectively. The film was also nominated for an Awards Circuits Community Award and a British Academy Film Award in similar categories despite falling short of the wins. Even so, Mrs. Doubtfire came to be a quintessential comedy film due in considerable part to the long and complex process of transforming its lead performer into the caricature of an elderly, British nanny that audiences have come to cherish.

Source: Buzzfeed

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