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Spotlight On: Robert Downey Jr.
April 29, 2015
|Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business. Born in Manhattan, New York, on April 4, 1965, Robert Downey Jr. is the son of writer, director and filmographer Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Downey (née Elsie Ann Ford).
He and his sister Allyson were immersed in film and the performing arts from a very young age, leading Downey Jr. to study at the Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York, before moving to California with his father following his parents' 1978 divorce.
Downey Jr. made his debut as an actor at the age of five in the film Pound, written and directed by his father, Robert Downey Sr. He built his film repertoire throughout the 1980s and 1990s with roles in Tuff Turf, Weird Science, True Believer, and Wonder Boys among many others. In 1992, Downey received an Academy Award nomination and won the BAFTA (British Academy Award) for Best Actor for his performance in the title role of Chaplin.
In Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, Downey starred as a tabloid TV journalist who exploits a murderous couple's killing spree to boost his ratings. For the comedy Heart and Souls, Downey starred as a young man with a special relationship with four ghosts. In 1995, Downey starred in Restoration, with Hugh Grant, Meg Ryan and Ian McKellen, directed by Michael Hoffman. Also that year, he starred in Richard III, in which he appears opposite his Restoration co-star McKellen.
In 1997, Downey was seen in Robert Altman's The Gingerbread Man and in Hugo Pool, directed by his father, Robert Downey Sr. and starring Sean Penn and Patrick Dempsey. In September of 1999, Downey appeared in Black & White, written and directed by James Toback, along with Ben Stiller, Elijah Wood, Gaby Hoffmann, Brooke Shields and Claudia Schiffer. In January of 1999, he starred with Annette Bening and Aidan Quinn in In Dreams, directed by Neil Jordan.
In 2000, Downey co-starred with Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire in Wonder Boys, directed by Curtis Hanson. In this dramatic comedy, Downey played the role of a bisexual literary agent. In 2001, Downey made his prime-time television debut when he joined the cast of the Fox-TV series Ally McBeal as attorney "Larry Paul". For this role, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Comedy Series. In addition, Downey was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
The actor's drug-related problems escalated from 1996 to 2001, leading to arrests, rehab visits and incarcerations, and he was eventually fired from Ally McBeal. Emerging clean and sober in 2003, Downey Jr. began to rebuild his career.
He marked his debut into music with his debut album, titled "The Futurist", on the Sony Classics Label on November 23rd, 2004. The album's eight original songs, that Downey wrote, and his two musical numbers debuting as cover songs revealed his sultry singing voice and his musical talents.
Downey starred in powerful yet humbling roles inspired by real-life accounts of some of history's most precious kept secrets, including Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly in 2006 co-starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and Woody Harrelson, and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus co-starring Nicole Kidman, a film inspired by the life of Diane Arbus, the revered photographer whose images captured attention in the early 1960s. These roles exhibited Downey's momentum from the previous year of 2005, in which he starred in the Academy Award®-nominated feature film Good Night, and Good Luck., directed by George Clooney and in Shane Black's action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang co-starring Val Kilmer. In 2007, he co-starred in David Fincher's suspenseful Zodiac (2007/I) alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo, about the notorious serial killer who haunted San Francisco during the 1970s.
Downey was honored by Time Magazine's "Time 100" in 2008, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His laurels include two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe wins, numerous other award nominations and wins, and tremendous popular and commercial success, particularly in his roles as Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark (the latter of which he has so far played in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Robert Downey Jr. has exhibited a striking ability to rehabilitate himself and his career. He has been the darling of Hollywood and the excess that represents Hollywood’s dark side. Downey has come out on the other side and has become one of the most influential stars in the Entertainment Industry.
He and his wife Susan Downey have started Team Downey Production Company. Team Downey produced The Academy Award nominated movie The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall and have many projects in the works.
We look forward to Mr. Downey’s next project.