101 Funniest Screenplays

Mrs. Doubtfire was Randi Mayem Singer’s first produced screenplay. “I was drawn to the idea of a divorced couple learning to put their differences aside in the interests of co-parenting. It’s an emotional, universal theme,” she said. Screenwriter Leslie Dixon had previous credits on the comedies Outrageous Fortune and Overboard. The source material was a 1986 children’s book written by Anne Fine. Fine said she named her nanny character for an Edinburgh shop owner whom she saw when she was a young mother pushing her child in a stroller. But the name Doubtfire soon became synonymous with a blockbuster title in Robin Williams’ prolific career. As in Tootsie, the man in drag is a struggling actor, except this time he’s posing as a nanny to spend more time with his kids than court-ordered visitation allows. Released at Thanksgiving, Mrs. Doubtfire rocketed to the top of the box office, posting the second-biggest opening of 1993, trailing only Jurassic Park.