His life story has all the characteristics of a Hollywood blockbuster scenario: a gifted young actor who, due to his problematic nature and bohemian family environment, deviates from the right path to the world of drugs and debauchery, cheats death again and again, and then at the moment when everyone thinks his career and life came to an end, he rose and conquered the world.
Robert Downey Jr., spent most of his upbringing and maturation, on the front pages of the tabloids, on the one hand because of his masterful performances in Hollywood movies, and on the other, because of his struggle with the law and too frequent stumbles into the world of narcotics and opiates. Times ended up in court, in rehabilitation centers or even in prison.
However, faith and perseverance to be able to get rid of his demons, as well as the huge support of colleagues and other wives Susan, helped Robert to overcome his addiction and leave his mark in the world of cinema with his unique acting talent and wild sense of humor.
This is the life story of Robert Downey Jr. – a superhero!
He was born on April 4, 1965, in New York and is the younger child of the Downey art family, which has had a huge impact on his future life since Robert’s birth.
His father, Robert Downey Senior, was an independent producer and director of bizarre and eccentric films, while his mother, Elsie Ford, was a singer, actress and actress at the time, appearing in her husband’s productions. Thus, Robert himself, who was taught from an early age to be more afraid of mediocrity than failure, fell in love with the art world, which brings with it
everyday instability and a unique dose of adrenaline.
Although he claimed that he fell in love with acting because his mother inspired him, it was actually his father who introduced him to the world of the seventh art, so Robert, only five years old, appeared in his father’s film “Pound”, and two years later, in once, “Greaser’s Palace”. Seeing a kind of idol in his father, Robert tried to get closer to him in every way. Thus, at the age of eight, he started consuming marijuana together with his father, and then, as he later said, a kind of secret connection would be created in the father-son relationship.
– While my father and I took drugs together, he wanted to show how he shares everything with me. He wanted to let me know how much he loves me in the only way he knew – said Robert in an interview, whose home was often visited by different artists, so film and production became part of his everyday life. Yet Robert, more and more, enraptured and intoxicated in his microcosm, was unconsciously moving astray.
– Then we thought we lived in a culture of lies and why would we be hypocrites? And now I think how we should have been, and not run away from reality by consuming drugs – the actor explained later, for whose unfortunate fate his father is largely responsible, to whom Downey, as he says, still forgave everything.
– If my father hadn’t acted the way he did, he might have been a better parent, but I wouldn’t have become what I am today. I think it’s important that you make mistakes so that your children don’t do it later – said Robert.
Living in that bohemian environment and often wandering around in search of work and inspiration, the actor gained many friends, such as Robert Hall, who became famous as the Moby singer, but also knowledge that later helped him realize himself as an actor. Thus, he played in many theater plays in London, and he enrolled in the “Perry House” school of classical ballet, in the classes of which, as he later admitted, he stood in a corner most of the time, because he acted like a moron.
His parents soon divorced, so Robert lived with his mother in a one-bedroom apartment in New York for a while, trying to get as involved in the theater as possible. He liked to hang out with his peers, so his mother’s apartment soon became too small for him, because he couldn’t bring company.
Going to New York
After two years, he moved to his sister and father in Los Angeles, however, he was not kept there either. Robert, with his father’s support, decided to leave Santa Monica High School and go to New York in search of his goal – film.
But the road to glory was not easy. He first worked as a pizza delivery man, once even serving Sting tea which later became one of his closest friends. He then worked in a shoe store, but used every free moment to participate in acting auditions. In a very short time, he managed to act in several plays, and in one of them he was noticed by several directors who gave him a chance to prove himself on the movie screen.
In the early eighties of the last century, he was hired to play in the romantic comedies “Baby it’s you” and “First born”, on the set of which he met his future girlfriend, actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Although they were both nineteen years old, they already had a rich experience in the world of acting, which brought them closer. However, Sarah was an ambitious girl at the time, and the doors of Hollywood opened before her, and Robert, on the other hand, did various jobs to pay for his unrestrained social life.
For the next seven years, Downey, as much as they supported each other, tried to keep aside as much as possible the fact that he began to indulge in vices.
In 1985, Robert managed to make the films “Weird Science”, “Tuff Turf”, “Mussolini: The Untold Story”, and just then he was invited to join a new team in the show “Saturday night Live”, which is due to poor viewership, was often characterized in the newspapers as “Saturday night Dead” and was soon abolished. He had his first significant roles in 1987 in the films “Pick Up Artist” and “Less than Zero”, an achievement that can be characterized as his autobiography in a nutshell.
– Until this movie, I took drugs after work and every weekend. Sometimes I appeared hangover on the set, but I never left the impression that I was under the influence of drugs. However, after that, everything changed. In the movie “Less than Zero”, I played the role of a teenage addict, and now I can say that that role was my spirit from the future.
At that moment, that character was me, only in an exaggerated edition, but it soon turned out that I became just like that in real life – he once said to Downey, while his girlfriend Sara was trying in every way to help him. The following year, they bought a house in Beverly Hills, which was built for Charlie Chaplin (See also: Motivational speech by Charlie Chaplin) and where they began living together.
For a while, Sarah Jessica Parker had a great influence on Downey, but when she saw that she was heading for ruin together with him, she decided to consult with his father in order to send him to rehabilitation together. He would be able to be clean for a few months, but then he would suddenly disappear again and be gone for days. Unable to bear to save him from himself, Sarah decided to leave him in 1991. Only a year later, Robert reached his maximum in the film world with a role in the film “Chaplin”, for which he won the “Golden Globe” and was nominated for an “Oscar”.
With this role, he managed to convince both the directors and the audience that he is one of the actors who promises a lot. After gaining sudden success and great popularity, Downey tried to fight addiction again, even symbolically burying the clothes he wore on the set of the movie “Less than Zero” in his garden. That same year, he met model Deborah Falconer and after a six-month relationship, they married and had a son, India.
After the family was founded, it was expected that Robert would be able to return to true values, but he did not succeed in that and soon after a series of incidents, the public was acquainted with his debauched nature. After seeing Downey consume cocaine on set during the filming of “Home for the Holidays”, Judy Foster was the first of her colleagues to approach him and say she was worried about him.
– When Jody Foster gets on the line, you don’t really care.
I remember her telling me that I was a good actor, that I had a good business ethic, but that she cared about me. And what was I am thinking at that moment? I was so drugged that I just thought what to call my space shuttle that I build in the air – said Robert in the show Oprah Winfrey.
The following year, it began to fall lower and lower. After Foster, actor Sean Penn also wanted to help him. One morning, he broke down the door of his apartment and forcibly dragged him into a private plane flying to one of the best rehab centers in Arizona. After taking a liter of water, after two days, Robert escaped from the rehabilitation center and hitchhiked to the nearest airport, in order to return home. That same day, the police stopped him at the moment when he was driving completely naked in his Porsche and throwing imaginary rats out of his car.
This case marked Robert’s beginning of the end. In the summer of the same year, the police stopped him for speeding and found cocaine, heroin and a gun in his car. Just three weeks later, Robert’s neighbor called the police and complained that a drunk man was lying in her child’s room. Although the woman did not want to file charges, because she noticed that there was nothing aggressive in Downey’s intentions, he was still arrested, because he was under the influence of narcotics. He was sentenced to three years of probation and released on bail and a promise that he would be tested for drugs at the request of the court. The following year, he escaped the test and was sentenced to one hundred and eighty days in prison in L.A.
That period was the most difficult for Robert, because he became a threat to himself and everyone who wanted to hire him. However, there were also those directors who still saw potential in him, so they hired him, trying to save a young life. So in 1999, he got a role in the movie “Two Girls and a Guy,” but soon missed his mandatory drug test again and was sentenced to three years in prison and a rehab center.
– I do all this because I feel like I have a gun in my mouth with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of metal – the actor said during the trial.
Success with the “Ally McBill” series
A year later, the court, with a bail of five thousand dollars, allowed Robert to be released under constant police supervision. However, during that dark period, the young actor wanted to regain his reputation, shooting several films “One Night Stand”, “US Marshals”, “Friends and Lovers”, but during the filming of “Wonder Boys”, he fell into the clutches again dependencies. That same year, the producer of the series “Ally McBill” decided to give him a chance and join the main team. His appearance in the role of Larry Paul raised his rating and won the “Golden Globe” and “SAG” recognition.
However, towards the end of the season, the police received an anonymous report, so they found Robert in a debauched and drugged state at a hotel in Palm Springs. The producers of the series “Ally McBill” did not want to give up their stars so easily, so they signed a contract with him to shoot eight new episodes, but after he was arrested in April 2001, because he was wandering barefoot and drugged in the fields outside. Los Angeles, was fired from the series, and his wife moved out of the house with her son India and filed for divorce.
– In those moments, I was afraid that while leafing through the newspaper, I would read his name among the deceased – said Robert’s manager at the time.
A turning point in life
These 2001 incidents were perhaps crucial to Downey’s final turn in life.
– That was the first time I wondered if I really should go to rehabilitation. Another trial was approaching, I lost my job, my wife left me. Much may be surprised by what I will say, but the rehabilitation process itself is not complicated. What is really difficult and crucial is to make the decision to do that – said Downey while visiting Oprah.
Although it was thought that this was just another unsuccessful attempt to recover, there were still those who, above all, still believed in the actor. Mel Gibson decided to help him, hiring him in the film “Singing Detective” in 2003, and in the same year, he played with Halle Berry in the realization of “Gothic”, on whose set he also met Susan Levin, which he fell in love with at first sight.
At their wedding on August 27, 2005, Sting and Billy Idol sang, and a few weeks later, Susan forced her husband to begin a twelve-month rehabilitation program, sign up for meditation classes, and start practicing “Wing Cung Kung Fu”. Downey later described how he felt like waking up from a twenty-year-old coma. A complete recovery worked wonders in his career.
In 2004, he released his first music album “The Futurist”, and began lowering more notable roles in the films “Kiss kiss bang bang”, “Zodiac”, until the final triumph of “Iron Man”, which due to its huge popularity, got more sequels, like the movie “Sherlock Holmes.”
The success of his career was accompanied by satisfaction on the love plane, so Robert, together with Susan, in 2010, opened the production company “Team Downey”, and the following year, he became the proud father of another boy, Exton Elias. In 2014, the happy couple also got a girl.
His plans to sail into the music waters were recently fueled by the sudden popularity of a video that was posted on the “YouTube” channel a few years ago, where Downey sings with Sting, which met with general enthusiasm among all fans of this actor.
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