Robert Downey Jr. (born 4.4.1965)
Robert Downey Jr. is an American actor. He rose to fame in the 1980s as a prominent member of the 'Brat Pack' group of actors. He has, however, been featured in the press as much for his acting as for his off-screen, drug related offences.
Robert Downey Jr.: Childhood
Robert Downey Jr. was born in New York, to Robert Downey Sr. and Elsie Downey. Both of his parents were actors and his father was also a writer, producer and cinematographer. As a child, Downey Jr. would appear in his father's film projects.
As a teenager, Robert Downey Jr. attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Centre, in New York.
Robert Downey Jr.: Film Career
Robert Downey Jr. made his acting debut at the age of five, when he appeared in the comedy Pound, in 1970. Two years later, he appeared in Greaser's Palace, which was directed by his father.
In 1985, aged 20, Robert Downey Jr. joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, but was only with the show for a year. However, in 1985, he also appeared in the film Turf Turf, as James Spader's sidekick. He went on to play a bully in Weird Science, the John Hughes film starring Kelly LeBrock.
Robert Downey Jr.'s first lead role came in 1987 when he starred opposite Molly Ringwald in The Pick-up Artist, earning his place in the Brat Pack, which also featured the likes of Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson.
That same year, he played the role of a drug addict in the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis Less Than Zero. His acclaimed performance led to roles in films such as Chances Are in 1989, with Cybill Shepherd and Ryan O'Neal, then Air America in 1990, alongside Mel Gibson and 1991's Soapdish with Whoopi Goldberg, Sally Field and Kevin Kline.
In 1992, Robert Downey took the lead role in the Charlie Chaplin biopic, Chaplin, earning himself an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in the process. He lost out on the award, which went to Al Pacino for his role in Scent of a Woman. The following year, he starred in Heart and Souls, alongside Elisabeth Shue and Kyra Sedgewick. 1993 was also the year that Downey Jr. starred in Robert Altman's drama Short Cuts, with Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore and Andie MacDowell.
In Oliver Stone's controversial Natural Born Killers, Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of Wayne Gale, alongside Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis.
In Restoration, which won two Oscars, for Best Art Direction - Set Design and Best Costume Design, Robert Downey Jr. starred alongside Sam Neill, Meg Ryan, Sir Ian McKellen and Hugh Grant.
1999 saw Robert Downey Jr. star in Black and White, which starred a number of high profile stars, including Elijah Wood, Brooke Shields, Claudia Schiffer and members of the rap group Wu-Tang Clan (including Raekwon, Method Man and Ghostface Killah).
The Last Party, a documentary made by Downey Jr., details the 1992 US presidential campaigns and features the actor's off-beat, satirical humour. The documentary features appearances from prominent figures such as George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Jerry Falwell, Al Gore, Tipper Gore, Christian Slater and Spike Lee.
Following a period of intense drug addiction, Robert Downey Jr. made a comeback in his acting career in 2003, when his friend Mel Gibson, paid for the insurance that was necessary to make him employable on the big screen once more. He starred alongside Adrien Brody, Katie Holmes and Robin Wright Penn in the Dennis Potter-written The Singing Detective. The actor's good behaviour opened the door for him to appear in other big budget productions, such as Gothika, starring Halle Berry. He also performed in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (with Shia LaBoeuf), Good Night and Good Luck (with George Clooney and Frank Langella) and A Scanner Darkly, with Keanu Reeves.
In 2008, Robert Downey Jr. appeared in two major blockbuster movies. The first, Iron Man, saw him playing the title character in a comic book adaptation that fared very well, both critically and commercially. The film also stared Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges.
The second film of 2008 was Tropic Thunder, in which he starred alongside Jack Black and Ben Stiller.
In 2009, Robert Downey Jr. played the role of Sherlock Holmes, in Guy Richie's film of the same name. Jude Law also featured in the film.
Robert Downey Jr.: Personal Life
Robert Downey Jr. has been romantically linked with a number of well-known actresses, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Marisa Tomei.
Robert Downey Jr. married Deborah Falconer in 1992 and they had a son named Indo Falconer Downey. They divorced in 2004. He then married the producer Susan Levin in 2005.