Robert Downey Jr.
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Born: Apr. 4, 1965 New York, New York, USA
Robert John Downey Jr. was born April 4th, 1965 in New York, New York. His father was a filmmaker and his mother an actress and a writer, so it seemed natural to head in the same direction.
His first film roles were working for his father, appearing in 1970’s Pound and 1972’s Greaser’s Palace. After his parent’s divorce, Downey Jr. followed his dad to California and appeared in his 1980 film Up the Academy. He headed back to NYC to live with his sister and work Off-Broadway. That got him discovered by an agent and he headed back to LA, where he landed a role in John Sayle’s 1983 film Baby It’s You, which was followed by 1984’s Firstborn.
A busy 1985 had Robert onscreen in Deadwait, Tuff Turf, Weird Science and the TV mini-series Mussolini: The Untold Story. He also landed a spot on Saturday Night Live, but unfortunately his season has widely been regarded as SNL’s worst.
Fortunately more films followed with Back to School and America in 1986 and The Pick-up Artist with Molly Ringwald and Less Than Zero starring Andrew McCarthy in 1987. He teamed with fellow SNL alum Anthony Michael Hall for 1988’s Johnny Be Good, a year that also saw him in Rented Lips and 1969. He then appeared in 1989’s That’s Adequate, True Believer and Chances Are.
In 1990, Downey Jr. appeared in Air America with Mel Gibson and worked with his dad again on Too Much Sun. He appeared in the comedy Soapdish in 1991, and earned multiple award nominations for his lead in 1992’s Chaplin. That was followed by 1993’s Heart and Souls with Elisabeth Shue and Robert Altman’s ensemble piece, Short Cuts.
1994 saw Robert with roles in Hail Caesar, Only You and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. He kept busy again in 1994, appearing in Restoration with Sam Neill , the TV movie Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, Home for the Holidays and Richard III.
Robert was arrested in 1996 in connection with his drug problems. In this time, he managed to work while being in and out of rehab. In 1997, he was seen in Hugo Pool with Alyssa Milano, Two Girls and a Guy with Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner, and One Night Stand with Wesley Snipes. He had roles in 1998’s U.S. Marshals with Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes and Robert Altman’s The Gingerbread Man. He closed off the decade appearing in James Toback’s Black and White, Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, Friends & Lovers and In Dreams with Annette Bening.
The year 2000 saw him in Wonder Boys with Michael Douglas and landing a recurring role on Ally McBeal with Calista Flockhart. He had received an early release from prison after his rehab time was taken into account and the role on the show seemed to get him back on his feet. Sadly, Downey Jr. was arrested again in April 2001. McBeal creator David E. Kelley fired him and rewrote the season ender where his character was to marry Ally. Robert was sentenced to three years probation including one year in a rehab center.
In 2003, after a coke bender epiphany, Downey Jr. finally seemed to face his sobriety. Mel Gibson took a chance on him and he appeared in 2003’s The Singing Detective with Katie Holmes and Gothika with Halle Berry. In 2005, he worked opposite Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and appeared in George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck.
Busy once more in 2006, he had roles in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, A Scanner Darkly and The Shaggy Dog. That was followed by 2007’s Lucky You with Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore, Charlie Bartlett with Anton Yelchin, and Zodiac with Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo..
Downey Jr. was all over the screens in 2008. After an uncredited performance as Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton, he then played the role again as the lead in Iron Man. He also joined Jack Black and Ben Stiller in the comedy Tropic Thunder, where he played a white actor who dyes his skin to play a black character.
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