Mara Elizabeth Wilson was born on July 24th, 1987 in Los Angeles, USA. She is a middle child with three elder brothers - Danny (b. 1979), Jon (b. 1981) and Joel (b. 1983) - and a younger sister Anna (b. 1993).
When Mara was five years old, her eldest brother Danny started acting in television adverts and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. She went on to appear in a number of commercials including those advertising Texaco and the Bank of America. She also appeared in a movie with Robin Williams in the film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), which is based on Anne Fine's novel 'Madame Doubtfire'. In the role, Mara proved herself to be a talented young actress, who was mature for her tender years, and her acting career went from strength-to-strength as she quickly become a favorite among cinema-goers.
The following year, Mara played a small girl whose mother had suffered a major stroke in A Time to Heal (1994) (TV). But her big break came with the remake of Miracle on 34th Street (1994) where she had a starring role as the little cynical girl who learned the magic of Santa Claus. Ironically, Mara is Jewish and so was not raised to believe in Santa Claus, but this was a bonus in some ways, since she was able to empathize with her character's stance that Santa didn't exist.
At the age of nine, Mara was cast in the lead role in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's book Matilda (1996). Sadly, during filming of the movie, Mara lost her beloved mother to breast cancer but she bravely pushed ahead with the film much to the amazement and admiration of her adult co-stars.