Robert Downey Jr. is an American actor.
His full name is Robert John Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. was born on April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York.
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 and his sister, Allyson Downey, were immersed in film and the performing arts from a very young age, leading Downey Jr. to study at the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York, before moving to California with his father following his parents’ 1978 divorce.
In 1982 at the age of 16 he dropped out of high school to pursue acting full time and was on the move again, relocating to New York to live with his mother.
Downey made his earliest feature film appearances in such films as Baby, It’s You (1983), Firstborn (1984), Weird Science (1985) and Back to School (1986). From 1985 to ’86, he was a regular cast member of Saturday Night Live, NBC’s popular sketch-comedy program.
Downey then scored the lead in the romantic comedy The Pick-up Artist (1987) and broke out further
with his visceral performance as a cocaine addict in Less Than Zero (1987).
In 1989, Downey did a romantic comedy called Chances Are, starring along with Cybill Shepherd, Ryan O’Neal and Mary Stuart Masterson. It was followed by Air America (1990), in which he starred with Mel Gibson and Soapdish (1991) with Sally Field.
In 1992, he starred as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin, a role for which he prepared extensively, learning how to play the violin and tennis left-handed. He had a personal coach in order to help him imitate Chaplin’s posture and way of carrying himself. Downey received an Academy Award nomination and won the BAFTA (British Academy Award) for Best Actor for his performance as Charlie Chaplin.
By this time, however, Downey had developed a substance-abuse problem, and, despite impressive turns in films ranging from the violent media satire Natural Born Killers (1994) to the costume drama Restoration (1995), his frequent skirmishes with the law and his public struggle with drug addiction often overshadowed his on-screen successes. He reached a low point in 1999, when he was sentenced to three years in prison for having violated parole from an earlier arrest.
After spending nearly a year in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in
Corcoran, California, Downey, on condition of posting $5,000 bail, was unexpectedly freed when a
judge ruled that his collective time in incarceration facilities (spawned from the initial 1996 arrests) had qualified him for early release.
A week after his release, Downey joined the cast of the hit television series Ally McBeal, playing the new love interest of Calista Flockhart’s title character. His performance was praised and the following year he was nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a mini-series or television film.
His drug problems continued, however, and he was arrested several times.
In 2003 Downey seemed to turn his life and career around, and he thrust himself into his work,
appearing in 13 feature films over the next five years, including The Singing Detective (2003), Good
Night, and Good Luck. (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and Zodiac (2007).
In 2008 Downey won acclaim for his roles in two blockbusters. He played the wealthy industrialist-turned-crime fighter Tony Stark in Iron Man (2008), which grossed over $585 million worldwide and receiving rave reviews which cited Downey’s performance as a highlight of the film. Than he starred in the comedy Tropic Thunder (2008) with Ben Stiller and Jack Black. Downey garnered a number of accolades for his performance in Tropic Thunder, including an Oscar and Golden Globe award nominations for best supporting actor.
Opening in late April 2009 was a film Downey finished in mid-2008, The Soloist. Downey co-starred with Jamie Foxx in The Soloist, which tells the story about the friendship between a Los Angeles journalist (Downey) and a homeless Juilliard-trained musician (Foxx).
The first role Downey accepted after Iron Man was the title character in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. Warner Bros. released on December 25, 2009. The film earned Downey a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
In early Summer 2010, Downey re-teamed with director Jon Favreau and reprised his role as “Tony
Stark/Iron Man” in the hugely successful sequel to the original film, Iron Man 2 (2010), starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Mickey Rourke.
Downey next starred in comedy road film Due Date (2010). The movie, co-starring Zach Galifianakis, was released in November 2010.
In 2011 Downey starred in the sequel to the 2009 version of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which opened worldwide on December 16, 2011.
In 2012, The Avengers a superhero film was released, which was based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Downey starred in this massive project along with Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, etc.
His film, the David Dobkin-directed comedy drama The Judge (2014), a project co-produced by his
production company Team Downey, was the opening film at the Toronto International Film Festival in
Downey played Tony Stark again in Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).
For three consecutive years from 2012 to 2015, Downey has topped the Forbes list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, making an estimated $80 million in earnings between June 2014 and June 2015.
Robert Downey Jr. has an estimated net worth of $260 million.
Downey was married to singer and actress Deborah Falconer from 1992-2004. They have a son named Indio Falconer Downey born in September 1993.
Despite his troubled history with the law, these days, Downey has a much more stable home life. He married producer Susan Levin in 2005. Their first child, a son, was born in February 2012, their second child, a daughter, was born in November 2014.
Downey maintains that he has been drug-free since July 2003, and has credited his wife with helping him overcome his drug and alcohol habits, along with his family, therapy, meditation, twelve-step recovery programs, yoga and the practice of Wing Chun kung fu; in the martial art, he learned from
Eric Oram, who is also a fight consultant in several of Downey’s movies.
As a child, Downey was “surrounded by drugs”. His father, a drug addict, allowed Downey to use
marijuana at age six, an incident which his father has said he now regrets.
As a result of his father’s work (Robert Downey Sr. was (and is) an independent filmmaker), Downey the
younger spent a great deal of his childhood on the move. He lived at various points in Connecticut,
New York, California, London, Paris and Woodstock.
At the age of 10, while living in London, Robert attended the Perry House School in Chelsea and
studied classical ballet.
Downey was a huge fan of the Iron Man comics as a child.
His first jobs in New York City included bussing tables at Central Falls restaurant, working in a shoe
store, and performing as a piece of living art at SohHo’s notorious underground club Area.
Downey has described his religious beliefs as “Jewish-Buddhist” and studies astrology. In the past, he has been interested in Christianity and the Hare Krishna ideology.
Downey started dating actress Sarah Jessica Parker after meeting her on the set of Firstborn. They
lived together for seven years during the 1980s.
Downey and Kiefer Sutherland, who shared the screen in the 1988 drama 1969, were roommates for three years when he first moved to Hollywood to pursue his career in acting.
He kept a great deal of the authentic vintage clothing he wore in the movie Chaplin (1992).
In a symbolic attempt to bury his decadent 1980s Brat Pack image and begin a new phase of his life and career after filming Chaplin (1992) in 1991, he (literally) buried the clothes that he wore in Less Than Zero (1987) in the backyard of his house.
While drunk, he wandered into a neighbor’s Malibu home that he thought was his own, and fell asleep in
their child’s bed.