Robert Downey Jr’s father, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr, has died. He died at the age of 85. The ‘Iron Man’ actor took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute to his father. He also revealed in the tribute post that his father died in his sleep at home in New York on Tuesday night. On June 24, the late actor-filmmaker turned 85 years old. He was battling Parkinson’s disease.
“RIP Bob D. Sr. 1936-2021…
Last night, dad passed peacefully in his sleep after years of enduring the ravages of Parkinson’s ..he was a true maverick filmmaker and remained remarkably optimistic throughout,” the ‘Avengers’ actor wrote in his post.
“According to my stepmom’s calculations, they were happily married for just over 2000 years. Rosemary Rogers-Downey, you are a saint, and our thoughts and prayers are with you,” he added.
Downey Sr was a native New Yorker, born Robert Elias Jr. in 1936 in Manhattan. He assumed his stepfather’s surname, James Downey, when he attempted to enlist in the US Army but was too young, according to People magazine.
The actor is best remembered for his groundbreaking anti-establishment films such as ‘Putney Swope’ and ‘Greaser’s Place. Additionally, he appeared in films such as ‘Boogie Nights,’ ‘Magnolia,’ and ‘To Live and Die in Los Angeles.’
Downey Sr. began writing and directing low-budget 16mm films in 1961, gaining a cult following. His first film was 1961’s ‘Ball’s Bluff,’ about a Civil War soldier who awakens in 1960s Central Park.
The late actor frequently incorporated members of his family into his films. He starred in four films with his first wife, Elsie Ann Ford: ‘Chafed Elbows’, ‘Pound’, ‘Greaser’s Place’, and ‘Moment to Moment’.
He had two children with Elsie: daughter Allyson and son Robert Jr., who made their film debuts at the ages of seven and five in his 1970 film ‘Pound.’
Allyson went on to star in another one of her father’s films, ‘Up the Academy’, while Downey Jr’s extensive credits include eight of his father’s films from ‘Up the Academy’ to ‘Rented Lips’ and ‘Too Much Sun’.
Downey Sr’s final directorial effort was the 2005 documentary ‘Rittenhouse Square.’ He last appeared on-screen as Judge Ramos in 2011’s ‘Tower Heist.’
Robert Downey Sr was married three times, first to Elsie Ann Ford from 1962 to 1982 and then to Laura Ernst from 1991 to 1994. In 1975, the first of these marriages ended in divorce, while the second ended in Ernst’s death.
His third wife, author Rosemary Rogers, whom he married in 1998, and his two children, Robert Downey Jr. and Allyson Downey, survive him.
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