Robert John Downey, Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor, film producer, and musician. Downey made his screen debut at the age of five when he appeared in one of his father’s films, and has worked consistently in film and television ever since. During the 1980s, he had roles in a series of coming of age films associated with the Brat Pack. Less Than Zero (1987) is particularly notable, not only because it was the first time Downey’s acting would be acknowledged by critics, but also because the role pushed Downey’s already existing drug habit one step further. After Zero, Downey started landing roles in bigger films such as Air America (1990) and Soapdish (1991). These higher-profile roles eventually led to his being cast as Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 film Chaplin, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Released from jail 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]
He 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]
Probation revoked after continued drug use. [17 October 1997]
Remanded to a secure drug rehabilitation center. [August 1996]
During traffic stop for speeding, he 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.
Son of Robert Downey Sr..
Son Indio Falconer Downey, 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).
Once worked as a piece of living art in a SoHo nightclub in New York City.
After Downey’s 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 Downey 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]
Downey’s 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 once wandered into a stranger’s house and passed out on a child’s bed.
Downey 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]
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]
Downey pleaded no contest to drug charges. The judge sentenced him to remain in rehabilitation for one year and to three years’ probation. [16 July 2001]
Parents divorced when he was 11.
Kept a lot 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 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, and Woodstock.
At the age of 10, while living in London, Robert 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.
Downey 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 “Pietà,” made in the manner of Michelangelo’s famous Pietà 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.” Downey 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 Downey.
Before he starred as Iron Man (2008), Downey 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 and Russian-Jewish ancestry from his father’s side and German-Jewish 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 (2008) and The Incredible Hulk (2008)) produced by the same studio (Marvel Studios).
Has worn lifts at his directors’ requests in his recent leading man roles, namely Iron Man (2008) and its sequel and in Sherlock Holmes (2009), in order to enhance his height.
Signed on to voice “The Devil” in the animated television series “God, the Devil and Bob” (2000). Shortly thereafter, Downey was jailed, so he was replaced by Alan Cumming.
Began studying Wing Chun Kung Fu under Sifu Eric Oram, who is serving as fight and martial arts consultant on Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (2009).
According to an interview he gave to Newsweek in February 2009, when Downey went to Japan for their opening of Iron Man (2008), he was detained on entry because Japanese authorities ran his passport and found it linked to “some incredible criminal activity” (namely Downey’s multiple arrests and incarcerations on drug-related charges in the 1990s and 2000s). For failing to disclose these convictions, Downey was interrogated for six hours and was almost barred from entry into Japan. It was finally decided that he could enter Japan for the Iron Man premiere but he is never to be allowed into Japan again.
Godfather of his son Indio Falconer Downey is close friend Anthony Michael Hall.
Was roommates with Kiefer Sutherland in the early ’80s.
Attended Junior High School 104 in Manhattan with fellow actors Jon Cryer, Erica Gimpel, and Kadeem Hardison.
Filmed his role in Hail Caesar in one day.
Lives in Venice and Malibu, California.