Robin Williams & The Mrs. Doubtfire House

The surprising and saddening news of Robin Williams’ suicide earlier this week has reverberated through the bay area. Robin Williams lived in the north bay, and was often spotted in San Francisco. SFGate had an article yesterday about the Mrs. Doubtfire home and how it has become a sort of shrine over the past several days.

As you can see in the video above, a normally non-remarkable intersection in Pacific Heights has become a rather sad and sedate but bustling corner of activity. The owner of the home, Douglas Ousterhout, is a Robin Williams fan and has a great attitude toward his home becoming a memorial site to Robin Williams. But what if the owner didn’t have such a good attitude about it all?

Mrs. Doubtfire was a 1993 movie, and Douglas Ousterhout has owned the property since 1997. There are two previous MLS listings from 1993 and 1994, both of which were withdrawn/expired without a sale. One listing notes that the property was the home of “Sophie Julien for 50 years” and the other notes that it was a “‘location’ Shoot For Fox Film, ‘mrs. Doubtfire’ Starring Robin Williams!” 

What if the owner hadn’t been informed of the home’s use in a famous movie? Does the current owner have a duty to disclose this to future residents, particularly since  fans may now show up on a regular basis to remember or pay tribute to an incredible comedian?

Robin Williams’ suicide has brought depression and mental health into the spotlight, and there have been many conversations this week about how we can support those struggling with depression or a mental illness. Most of them, fortunately, are much more thoughtful than the stupid and thoughtless lines spewed by Rush Limbaugh. While they are a minor footnote to the bigger questions being raised, his death also points out some interesting questions for property owners as well.

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