You probably know Mara Wilson as the beloved child actress turned author. She appeared alongside stars such as Robin Williams and Danny Devito. But did you know ‘Matilda’ is actually related to Ben Shapiro?
You read that right, though they don’t share the same last name, Mara Wilson and Ben Shapiro are in fact cousins. However, they couldn’t be less alike.
In this article, we talk in-depth about the upbringing and life of Mara Wilson, Ben Shapiro’s cousin, their relationship, and how different their views are. So, let’s dive in.
How Mara Wilson and Ben Shapiro Are Related?
Mara Wilson and Ben Shapiro are first cousins! In fact, their grandfather, Nat Mayer Shapiro, was a famous visual artist. Nat Shapiro only had two children, David, and Suzie Shapiro.
Both David and Suzie pursued the arts, like their father. David is a musical artist, best known for composing the score of the Charlie Rose Show, while Suzie chose to foster the talents of her actress daughter, Mara Wilson.
However, Mara and Ben had extremely different upbringings. Let’s explore both their childhoods further.
At only 5 years old, Mara became increasingly interested in acting. Yet, her parents were reluctant at first due to her young age. They eventually agreed when seeing how talented and passionate she was about her acting career.
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Mara basically grew up in Hollywood. She had many great celebrity mentors like Robin Williams, who she met while filming her first movie, Ms. Doubtfire.
The person who affected her life most was none other than Danny DeVito. Even though the actor played her neglectful father in the movie ‘Matilda’, he was like her loving second dad in real life. Mara even remembers the whole cast of Matilda as being her second family.
Sadly, the Hollywood pressure can be too much on a young girl. Additionally, after the death of her mother, Mara lost her passion for acting. So, Mara decided to take a break from acting at only 13. Instead, the young actress focused on her education.
Wilson attended Idyllwild Arts Academy, and followed her arts education by graduating from Tisch School of Arts. During her time at Tisch, she also had a one-woman show called “Weren’t You That Girl?’.
Like Wilson, Ben Shapiro was also a talented teenager. He can perfectly play the violin, and even performed publicly when he was only 12.
Shapiro is an incredibly smart and talented writer. In fact, he became the youngest columnist when he was 17. He also skipped two grades and graduated from university at only 20 years old.
Ben had a traditional orthodox Jewish upbringing. This is particularly evident in his attendance at Yeshiva High School in Los Angeles. Then, he went on to graduate from not one, but two of the most prominent universities in the United States, the University of California, and Harvard Law School.
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As evident by the upbringing of the actress and the columnist, they both have different political views. Their political views are polar opposites to the point that the cousins don’t even speak to each other!
That’s because Shapiro is a prominent figure in right-wing politics who founded The Daily Wire. Alternatively, Wilson doesn’t have a news platform like her cousin. So, she often takes to Twitter to voice her opposing opinions.
In fact, Wilson constantly tweets views that are different from Shapiro’s, it’s almost like she means it. She also often likes tweets that criticize Ben and his political views.
The cherry on top though, was when Mara wrote a tweet about Shapiro saying “Growing up is great because you get to choose which relatives you want to spend time with and which ones to cut out of your life without any regret”
Shapiro’s Twitter isn’t Mara-free either. He stated that the actress blocked him from the social media website.
Where is Mara Wilson Now?
It has been hard for the former child star to break into Hollywood again, especially since she took a fairly long break. Furthermore, Mara has stated that she doesn’t really find acting fun, so she isn’t actively pursuing it. However, Wilson still dabbles in acting through different web series.
Mara sometimes also does voice acting as a guest star. Some of her roles include the animated shows BoJack Horseman and Big Hero 6.
On the other hand, Mara took notes from her columnist cousin and is currently a published writer. She’s written an autobiography describing her rise to fame at a young age. Furthermore, she often writes for online publications including the New York Times.
Sadly, Wilson has been diagnosed with OCD when she was a teenager. Since then, Mara has been vocal about her mental health and her battle with anxiety and depression. She also often criticizes the media’s unfair treatment of child stars.
Mara Wilson’s net worth is about $500 K. this is only natural since the starlet hasn’t been working as often in the Hollywood scene. Alternatively, Ben Shapiro has a net worth of $20 million.
It often confuses both movie fans and political activists when they find out about Mara Wilson, Ben Shapiro’s cousin. To make matters even more complicated, the pair rarely speak, with Mara, completely cutting ties with Shapiro due to their contrasting political beliefs.
This only makes sense, since their upbringing was starkly different. After all, Shapiro grew up in conservative Jewish schools, while Wilson was a young Hollywood starlet.
Yet, Mara took a long break from acting while she was at the peak of her success. She now does some web shows and is an author, in addition to her Twitter account where she openly, and courageously, voices her political opinions.