Robert Downey, Jr., in full Robert John Downey, Jr., (born April 4, 1965, New York City, New York, U.S.), American actor, considered one of Hollywood’s most gifted and versatile performers.
Downey was raised in an artistic household in New York City’s Greenwich Village; his father was a noted underground filmmaker who gave the five-year-old Downey his first part. After dropping out of high school in California, Downey returned to New York City to pursue an acting career. Supporting roles in several movies, including the cult hit Weird Science (1985), led to a stint (1985–86) on the television comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live. With his boyish looks and raffish charm, Downey then scored the lead in the romantic comedy The Pick-up Artist (1987) and broke out further with his visceral performance as a cocaine addict in Less Than Zero (1987).
Steady work followed, but much of it went unnoticed until Downey’s appearance in 1992 as the title character in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin biopic, which earned him numerous plaudits and an Academy Award nomination for best actor. By this time, however, Downey had developed a substance-abuse problem, and, despite impressive turns in films ranging from the violent media satire Natural Born Killers (1994) to the costume dramaRestoration (1995), his frequent skirmishes with the law and his public struggle with drug addiction often overshadowed his on-screen successes. He reached a low point in 1999, when he was sentenced to three years in prison for having violated parole from an earlier arrest.
In 2000, after being granted an early release, Downey was cast in a recurring role on the television series Ally McBeal, and he won a Golden Globe Award for his work on the show. His drug problems continued, however, and he was arrested several times. In 2003 Downey seemed to turn his life and career around, and he thrust himself into his work, appearing in 13 feature films over the next five years, including The Singing Detective (2003), Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and Zodiac (2007).
In 2008 Downey won acclaim for his roles in two summer blockbusters. In Iron Man he portrayed Tony Stark, a billionaire inventor with a superhero alter ego, and in the satiric comedy Tropic Thunder he starred as a self-important movie star who dons blackface to land the role of an African American soldier in the Vietnam War. For the latter role Downey received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He next appeared in The Soloist (2009), portraying a journalist who befriends a homeless man (played by Jamie Foxx) who was a classically trained cellist. Downey then assumed the title role in Sherlock Holmes (2009), a film featuring a visceral reimagining of the central character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective series, and won a Golden Globe Award for his performance; a sequel followed in 2011.
Having emerged, somewhat surprisingly, as one of Hollywood’s most-bankable stars, Downey was cast as an anxious father-to-be in the road-trip comedy Due Date (2010). He took a supporting role in Iron Man director Jon Favreau’s pet project, Chef (2014), before playing a lawyer defending his father (Robert Duvall), who is accused of vehicular homicide, in The Judge (2014). He reprised the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Captain America: Civil War (2016).
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert John Downey, Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor. Downey made his screen debut in 1970, at the age of five, when he appeared in his father's film Pound, 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), Soapdish (1991) and Natural Born Killers (1994). He played Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 film Chaplin, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Between 1996 and 2001, Downey was frequently arrested on drug-related charges and went through several drug treatment programs, but had difficulty staying clean. After being released from the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in 2000, Downey joined the cast of the hit television series Ally McBeal, playing the new love interest of Calista Flockhart's title character. His performance was praised and received accolades, but his character was written out when Downey was fired after two drug arrests in late 2000 and early 2001. After one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey finally achieved lasting sobriety and his career began to take off again. He appeared in semi-independent films such as The Singing Detective (2003), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), and A Scanner Darkly (2006). He also had supporting roles in the mainstream films Gothika (2003) and Zodiac (2007). In 2004, Downey released his debut studio album The Futurist. In 2007, Downey was cast as the title character in the comic book adaptation Iron Man. The film was a huge success; the opening weekend for Iron Man is still in the top 20 openings of all time. He reprised the role of Tony Stark in the 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2, and will again in 2012 in The Avengers and in the third movie of the planned trilogy, Iron Man 3, due to open in 2013. In addition to receiving commercial success, Downey's performance in the first Iron Man film received rave reviews. Downey was nominated for—and won—a number of end-of-year awards from critics and film associations around the world. Downey's other 2008 films included Charlie Bartlett and the Ben Stiller-directed Tropic Thunder, in which he portrayed an Australian method actor overly engrossed in his role as an African-American soldier. He received his second Oscar nomination for the film, in the category of Best Supporting Actor. In 2009, Downey starred as the titular lead character in Guy Ritchie's adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, released Christmas 2009. Soon after, Downey won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for that portrayal of the famous detective