Robert Downey Jr.
Date of Birth
4 April 1965, New York, New York, USA
Robert John Downey Jr.
5' 9" (1.75 m)
Robert John Downey Jr. was born in Greenwich Village, New York City, at 1:10 pm.
Robert Downey Jr. is the son of underground filmmaker Robert Downey Sr.. His
first part in a movie was in his father's Pound (1970), in which 5-year-old
Robert Downey Jr. played a puppy. When he was 20 years old, he joined
"Saturday Night Live" (1975)_ for one season. After that, Robert Downey Jr. went
to Hollywood. In 1987, he got the leading role in director James Toback's film
The Pick-up Artist (1987), co-starring with Molly Ringwald. The same year,
Robert Downey Jr. played drug addict Julian Wells in the movie Less Than
Zero (1987). In 1992, Robert Downey Jr. played Charles Chaplin in Sir
Richard Attenborough's film Chaplin (1992). For his astonishing performance, he
received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In the year 2000, he
guest-starred in the comedy series "Ally McBeal" (1997), where he portrayed the
attorney Larry Paul, who became Ally's love interest. For that performance, he
won the Golden Globe for "best supporting actor in a comedy series." On "Ally
McBeal" (1997), Downey got to show that he can sing as well as act, when he sang
Joni Mitchell's "River," "Chances Are" as a duet with Vonda Shepard, and "Every
Breath You Take" together with Sting. Robert Downey Jr. released one song
of his own, "Snakes," on the "Ally McBeal" (1997) album "For Once in My Life,"
and a full album of his own work entitled "The Futurist" in 2005.
Susan Downey (27 August 2005 - present)
Deborah Falconer (29 May 1992 - 26 April 2004) (divorced) 1 child
Robert Downey Jr. Released from prison on $5,000 bail. [2 August 2000]
Released from jail to complete his six-month jail sentence at a drug
rehabilitation center. Downey caused a stir when he was freed to work on a
movie. [31 March 1998]
Robert Downey Jr. got into fight with another inmate at the Los Angeles
County Jail, where he was serving time for a probation violation, and was
treated for a cut over his nose. [13 February 1998]
Jailed for 180 days for violating probation. [December 1997]
Robert Downey Jr. Probation revoked after continued drug use. [17 October
Remanded to a secure drug rehabilitation center. [August 1996]
During traffic stop for speeding, Robert Downey Jr. was arrested for drunk
driving, possession of heroin, and possession of an unloaded pistol in his
pickup truck. This was his first reported brush with the law at age 31. He was
given a suspended prison sentence of 3 years, and granted probation with
requirements of random drug testing and drug counselling. [August 1996]
Names Peter O'Toole as his favorite actor.
Lived with Sarah Jessica Parker for 7 years during the 1980s.
Robert Downey Jr. is the Son of Robert Downey Sr..
Son Indio, with his first wife Deborah Falconer, was born on September 7, 1993.
Attended Stagedoor Manor.
Sent to a rehab center at the L.A. County jail while waiting for an August 5
hearing. [22 June 1999]
Claims that his father is the one who introduced him to drugs, by offering him a
marijuana joint when he was 8.
While drunk, he wandered into a neighbor's Malibu home that he thought was his
own, and fell asleep on the bed. He was arrested for being under the influence
of drugs, which was a third violation of his probation.
He took daily drug tests during the filming of Two Girls and a Guy (1997).
Robert Downey Jr. Once worked as a piece of living art in a SoHo nightclub in
New York City.
After Robert Downey Jr. three violations of probation for drug and alcohol
abuse in a three-year span of time since he was spared a prison sentence and
placed on probation, Malibu Judge Lawrence Mira stated that he was out of
options. He was sentencing Robert Downey Jr. to prison, he said, to save
his life, because he would not take the responsibility of refraining from
alcohol and drug use on his own. The Judge invoked the three years' sentence in
state prison that had been suspended in 1996. Downey, Dept of Corrections
#P50522, spent two weeks in a state prison reception center at Wasco,
California, for orientation. On 8/25/99, he was transferred to a Dept. of
Corrections prison named "SATF" (Substance Abuse Treatment Facility) for drug
dependent prisoners in Corcoran California. Scheduled release date: 11/2/2000.
SATF is across the street from the other Corcoran Prison, where inmates were
shot to death on the exercise yard during fights in the 1990s. Downey's lawyers
have approached the Malibu judge several times in the last 11 months to request
Downey's release, but the Judge has refused. [6 August 1999]
Robert Downey Jr. lawyers petitioned the State Court of Appeals in Los Angeles,
stating that Downey had already served enough time because the Malibu judge had
made errors in calculating his sentence. He hadn't given credit for the several
times Downey spent in lockdown rehab units and in pre-sentencing confinement.
Downey's lawyers claimed that he should have been released in February 2000.
During his days of drug addiction, Robert Downey Jr. once wandered into a
stranger's house and passed out on a child's bed.
Robert Downey Jr. re-arrested on drugs and weapons charges in Palm
Springs, California, at the luxurious Merv Griffin resort, after an anonymous
tip to police. Downey was found alone, with cocaine and methamphetamines. He
cooperated with police, spent the night in jail, and was released the next
morning on $15,000.00 bail. Downey had been on a career upswing with his
successful stint on "Ally McBeal" (1997), and his upcoming stage performance as
Hamlet, set for January, 2001 in Los Angeles, to be directed by his friend Mel
Gibson. [25 November 2000]
Arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance in Los Angeles
after he was found wandering in an alley. He was fired from the TV series "Ally
McBeal" (1997) by producer David E. Kelley after the arrest. [24 April 2001]
Downey's attorneys advised the judge that they could not reach a plea bargain in
his November 2000 drug arrest. [15 March 2001]
Robert Downey Jr. Downey pleaded not guilty to the November 2000 drug charges.
Next hearing will be on July 16. He is being held in a drug rehab center until
his case is decided. [24 May 2001]
Robert Downey Jr. Downey pleaded no contest to drug charges. The judge sentenced
him to remain in rehabilitation for one year and to three years' probation. [16
Parents divorced when he was 11.
Kept a lot of the authentic vintage clothing he wore in the movie Chaplin
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 1987's Less Than Zero (1987) in
the backyard of his house.
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,
At the age of 10, while living in London, Robert Downey Jr. attended the
Perry House School in Chelsea and studied classical ballet.
Married his first wife after dating her for only 42 days.
Dropped out of Santa Monica High School at age 17 and moved to New York to
become an actor. First jobs in the city included bussing tables at Central Falls
restaurant, working in a shoe store, and performing as "living art" at SohHo's
notorious underground club Area.
Robert Downey Jr. enjoyed working with the director of the Elton John music
video--contemporary artist Sam Taylor Wood--so much that he suggested that they
work together again on an art piece. The result was an art video called "Piet�,"
made in the manner of Michelangelo's famous Piet� sculpture in Rome. It was
included in Sam Taylor Wood's exhibition "Mute" at the White Cube 2 art gallery
in London, November 23 to January 12, 2002.
Starred in Elton John's music video for the song "I Want Love." Robert Downey
Jr. was let out of rehab for one day in late July specifically to shoot the
video (which was filmed in one long continuous take at Greystone Manor in
Beverley Hills.) It was Downey's first work since being fired from the TV show
"Ally McBeal" (1997) in April 2001.
Starred briefly with his first wife Deborah Falconer in the 1992 Robert Altman
movie Short Cuts (1993).
Childhood friend of Richard Hall aka Moby.
He married his second wife, Gothika (2003) producer Susan Downey, at Amagansett,
New York, on 27 August 2005.
Was approached to do the part as Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy (2005).
He's the first regular cast member of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) to be
nominated for an Academy Award in the category "Best Actor in a Leading Role."
Joan Cusack and Dan Aykroyd were also nominated for Academy Awards some years
before Downey, but both were nominated for supporting roles.
Was in attendance at Chris Penn's funeral
Met wife Susan Downey on the set of Gothika (2003).
He proposed to Susan Downey on her 30th birthday.
Sting ("Every Breath You Take") and Billy Idol performed at his wedding to Susan
Before he starred as Iron Man (2008), Robert Downey Jr. had done films
with three of the actors who played Batman: with George Clooney in Good Night,
and Good Luck. (2005); with Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005); and with
Michael Keaton in Game 6 (2005).
On the set of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006) he took co-star Adam
Scarimbolo under his wing.
Ranked #60 in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the world (2008).
He is of Irish ancestry from his father's side and German and Scottish descent
from his mother's side.
Close friends with Anthony Michael Hall and Ramon Estevez.
Gave life to the same character (Tony Stark) in two movies in the same year
(Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk) produced by the same studio (Marvel Studios).
Robert Downey Jr. Personal Quotes
I've always felt like such an outsider in this industry. Because I'm so insane,
The higher the stakes, the happier I am, the better I will be.
I'm not used to feeling like I belong where I am.
A lot of my peer group think I'm an eccentric bisexual, like I may even have an
ammonia-filled tentacle or something somewhere on my body. That's okay.
I've become a picky little bitch. I've never bothered to plan projects before. I
just used to throw the script across the room and say, "Why do they keep sending
me this horseshit?" And then I'd start rehearsals two weeks later.
[Robert Downey Jr. on his addiction to drugs]: It's like I have a loaded gun in
my mouth, and I like the taste of metal.
It's a blanket statement to say, "That guy's really sharp and amicable and
nice," because there's a little bit of a--hole in every nice guy, and there's a
little bit of genius in every moron.
I am putting together some ideas for two or three more things I want to do.
Maybe a CD of just my kind of standards, which would be Supertramp and Steely
Dan covers with an orchestra. I'm deep into old Genesis. I'm sorry, but these
are songs that mean something to me. "Follow You Follow Me" is a song that's
about something to me. [on his music]
I know very little about acting. I'm just an incredibly gifted faker.
It was so nice to go into this fake courtroom [on "Ally McBeal" (1997)]. I
immediately went up into the judge's chair. Nice view. A preferable perspective.
What I usually hate about these movies when suddenly the guy that you were
digging turns into Dudley Do-Right, and then you're supposed to buy into all his
"Let's go do some good!" That Eliot Ness-in-a-cape-type thing. What was really
important to me was to not have him change so much that he's unrecognizable.
When someone used to be a schmuck and they're not anymore, hopefully they still
have a sense of humor. [on superhero movies]
[Robert Downey Jr. on Black and White (1999/I)] A stage slap from Mike Tyson is
like a shovel whack from a normally fortified male.
The great thing about "Saturday Night Live" (1975) was being at 30 Rockefeller
Center. And having Belushi and Aykroyd's old office. And me and Michael [Anthony
Michael Hall] saying, "We want bunk beds. With NFL Sheets. And we want them
now." And Michael was like "Man, it's gonna be great, we're gonna be buddies,
we're gonna do a show together, we're gonna ..." Then, "I'm gonna do Out of
Bounds (1986)" and he left. As for me, I was doing Back to School (1986) and
Saturday Night Live at the same time. So I'd fly back to Los Angeles for a
couple of days during the week to shoot the movie and then fly back and, "Live
from New York, it's a tired young man!"
I had four weeks' work in Baby It's You (1983), and I told all my friends I was
now, officially, a major talent and film star. And then they cut my scenes out.
You don't even see me except in one scene - you see me in the background until
this self-indulgent actress leans forward to try and get more camera time. They
cut all my scenes out and my friends go, "Hey, Robert - maybe it's you!" Now I
don't tell people that I'm in a film until I see it on videocassette.
Tofu is the root of all evil, and there's only one thing that can change a man's
mind, and that's a modified Uzi with an extra-long clip.
I did Air America (1990) for two reasons: to be in a movie with Mel Gibson and
to make a bunch of money. And then underneath there was the hope that in doing
this formulaic thing I would be launched into a whole new realm of opportunity
to do A-list movies. By the time we were done, the only positive thing was
meeting Mel Gibson.
Five hundred grand for two weeks. [Robert Downey Jr. on why he did Danger
[Robert Downey Jr. on Restoration (1995)] I just thought [Hugh Grant] was a
dick, that's all. And I still do. You know, and that could be something that has
to do with me, or it could just be that not everyone in this industry is someone
I'd care to hang out with.
[Robert Downey Jr. on Weird Science (1985)] I defecated in [Kelly LeBrock's]
trailer, much to the chagrin of Bill Paxton and Robert Rusler. It was a real bad
scene. Joel Silver freaked. I never admitted it. Joel said, "Downey, did you do
it?" and I said I wish I had. Because I'd been threatening everyone that if they
didn't treat me right, I was going to take a dump in their trailer, or that I'd
go take a shit in Joel's office, on his desk or something.
[Robert Downey Jr. on his childhood] I didn't want to talk about what my dad did
because it wasn't like he was directing "All in the Family" (1971) or anything.
He was doing these crazy films. Mom would pick me up at school wearing this big
quilted cape. I felt like I was in a J.D. Salinger story. Dad's Jewish and
Irish, Mom's German and Scotch. I couldn't say I was anything. My last name
isn't even Downey. My dad changed his name when he wanted to get into the Army
and was underage. My real name is Robert Elias. I feel like I'm still looking
for a home in some way.
[Robert Downey Jr. on Sean Penn] In a relatively short time he was a better
friend than some people I'd known for ages. I remember him saying three or four
years ago, "You have two reputations. I think you know what both of them are,
and I think you'd do well to get rid of one of those reputations. If you don't,
it will get rid of the other one." And I was like, "Two reputations, I'll be
right back." Just hearing him say that reminded me that I should go score. After
that, he was like, forget it. It sucks, too, because someone as honorable as he
is, I really should have responded. Jesus, I grew up idolizing this guy. Not
only does he consider me a friend, but he's taking time. He's got a family. He's
got a career that's going well. He's living his dreams and making time for me,
and I'm like, "I can't, I just can't - sorry, busy."
As soon as I started smoking heroin instead of smoking coke, everything was
different, and I knew it was. And it happened around the time I was doing Home
for the Holidays (1995). Home for the Holidays is, for me, one of the most
relaxed performances in the history of cinema. I can't attribute that to the
fact that I was at a serene place in my life, or that there was a real warm
feeling on the set. This is a problem for me because I glamorize this stuff. I
can't say that it wasn't real dark, real evil and real hurtful to those around
me. And yet, practically every take of that film was a print. God bless Jodie
Foster. When does she have time to do a handwritten letter telling someone how
she genuinely cares about them? She said, "Listen, I'm not worried about you on
this film. You're not losing it or nodding out, and you're giving a great
performance. I'm worried about your thinking you can get away with doing this on
[Robert Downey Jr. on Chaplin (1992)] When I accepted the part, they
didn't tell me that I also had to do the acrobatic stuff of Charlie. That has
cost me a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Though I now can say, 'I did all my
stunts myself.' Working on Chaplin was really intensive and cost me years of my
life, but if I could do it all over again, no doubt I would do it the same way.
[Robert Downey Jr. on Chaplin (1992)] Chaplin was the culmination of an
opportunity, and the biggest humiliation I've ever experienced. It was like
winning the lottery, then going to prison. I realized that nothing that had
worked for me before was going to work here. I'd watch one of Charlie's films,
but by the end of it I was wildly depressed, because I realized that what he'd
done in this twenty-minute short was more expressive and funnier than everything
I've thought about doing my whole life.
[Robert Downey Jr. on U.S. Marshals (1998)] Possibly the worst action movie of
all time, and that's just not good for the maintenance of a good spiritual
condition. You've had a traumatic year, you've been practically suicidal - what
do you think would be really healing for you? How about like twelve weeks of
running around as Johnny Handgun? I think that if you talk to a spirit guide,
they would say, 'That'll kill you.'
[Robert Downey Jr. on U.S. Marshals (1998)] I thought maybe there was something
I was missing, and what I really needed to do was to be in one of those films
that I love taking my kid to. It would end up being really depressing. I'd
rather wake up in jail for a TB test than have to wake up another morning
knowing I'm going to the set of US Marshals.