Robert Downey Jr. Movies, Photos, Videos, News, Biography

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor and producer. His career has been characterized by critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, before a resurgence of commercial success in middle age. In 2008, Downey was named by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world, and from 2013 to 2015, he was listed by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest-paid actor.

Robert Downey Jr.

Downey in 2014
Born Robert John Downey Jr.

April 4, 1965 (age 56)

New York City, U.S.

Education Santa Monica High School
Occupation
  • Actor
  • producer
Years active 1970–present
Net worth US $300 million (2021)
Spouse(s) Deborah Falconer

(m. 1992; div. 2004)​

Susan Levin

(m. 2005)​

Partner(s) Sarah Jessica Parker (1984–1991)
Children 3
Parent(s) Robert Downey Sr. (father)

Robert Downey Jr. Early life and family

Downey was born in Manhattan, New York City, the younger of two children. His father, Robert Downey Sr., is an actor and filmmaker, while his mother, Elsie Ann (née Ford), was an actress who appeared in Downey Sr.’s films.

Downey’s father is of half Lithuanian-Jewish, one-quarter Hungarian-Jewish, and one-quarter Irish descent, while Downey’s mother had Scottish, German, and Swiss ancestry. Robert’s original family name was Elias which was changed by his father to enlist in the Army. Downey and his older sister Allyson grew up in Greenwich Village.

Career

1983–1995: Beginnings and critical acclaim

Downey began building upon theater roles, including in the short-lived off-Broadway musical American Passion at the Joyce Theater in 1983, produced by Norman Lear. In 1985, he was part of the new, younger cast hired for Saturday Night Live, but following a year of poor ratings and criticism of the new cast’s comedic talents, he and most of the new crew were dropped and replaced. Rolling Stone magazine named Downey the worst SNL cast member in its entire run, stating that the “Downey Fail sums up everything that makes SNL great.”

1996–2001: Career troubles

From 1996 through 2001, Downey was arrested numerous times on charges related to drugs including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. He went through drug treatment programs unsuccessfully, explaining in 1999 to a judge: “It’s like I have a shotgun in my mouth, and I’ve got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.” He said he had been addicted to drugs since the age of eight, due to the fact that his father, also an addict, had been giving them to him.

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Tom Cruise

Charlize Theron

2001–2007: Career comeback

After five years of substance abuse, arrests, rehab, and relapse, Downey was ready to work toward a full recovery from drugs and return to his career. In discussing his failed attempts to control his addictive behavior in the past, Downey told Oprah Winfrey in November 2004 that “when someone says, ‘I really wonder if maybe I should go to rehab?’ Well, uh, you’re a wreck, you just lost your job, and your wife left you. Uh, you might want to give it a shot.”

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