ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Robert Downey Jr.                                                                             
Born: 4 April 1965 New York City, New York, United States                                           
Robert John Downey, Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an Academy Award-nominated and                     
Golden Globe-winning American actor and musician. He became known during the                       
late 1980s and early 1990s after a series of well-reviewed performances in                         
Hollywood films. During a period of drug addiction in the late 1990s, Downey, Jr.                   
continued his acting career, appearing on the television series Ally McBeal.                       
More recent films include a number of supporting and lead film roles, in Good                       
Night and Good Luck, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, and Iron Man.                                     
Downey, Jr. was born in New York City, New York, the son of Elsie (nee Ford), a                     
dancer and singer, and Robert Downey Sr. (nee Elias), an actor, writer, producer,                   
cinematographer, and director of underground films. He has a sister,                               
Alison. Downey, Jr.'s mother was of German and Scottish descent, and his father                     
was of Irish and Jewish ancestry; Downey, Jr. has described his beliefs as "Jewish-Buddhist."       
During his childhood, Downey, Jr. had a minor role as a puppy in his father's                       
film Pound (1970). As a teen, he attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts                           
Training Center in upstate New York. Downey, Jr. subsequently grew up in                           
California with his father. At the age of twenty, he joined the cast of                             
Saturday Night Live, but was a cast member for only one season. His SNL                             
recurring characters included Jimmy Chance, a hipster movie critic (paired with                     
Nora Dunn's Ashley Ashley) and Rudy Randolph III: Son of Randy Quaid's Rudy                         
Randolph Jr. He did a number of celebrity impersonations, including Elvis                           
Presley, George Michael, John Cougar Mellencamp, Sean Penn, Paul Simon, and John                   
Oates from Hall and Oates (Darryl Hall was played by Anthony Michael Hall).                         
He went on to star in The Pick-up Artist in 1987. The same year, he portrayed a                     
drug-addicted rich boy in Less Than Zero. In 1992, he starred as Charlie                           
Chaplin in Chaplin, a role which garnered him an Academy Award nomination for                       
Best Actor. His other films in the 1990s included Heart and Souls, Only You,                       
Natural Born Killers, and Restoration.                                                             
Many consider Downey jr. to be a member of the Brat Pack. Although he's not                         
recognized as an official member, Downey starred with Molly Ringwald, Anthony                       
Michael Hall, James Spader and Andrew McCarthy in several Brat Pack films.                         
In 1997, Downey. Jr. was arrested and jailed for missing mandatory court-imposed                   
drug tests. He was imprisoned at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility                     
and State Prison, Corcoran, between August 1999 and August 2000 for similar                         
Following his release in 2000, Downey, Jr. joined the cast of the hit television                   
series Ally McBeal, playing Larry Paul, the new love interest of Calista                           
Flockhart's title character. He won a Golden Globe award and was nominated for                     
an Emmy Award. He also appeared as a writer and singer on Vonda Shephard's                         
Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life album and sang in a duet with Sting in an                         
episode of the series (a version of The Police's 1983 hit "Every Breath You Take").                 
Before the end of his first season on Ally McBeal, Downey, Jr. had relapsed into                   
drug use and was summarily fired from the series by producer David E. Kelley.                       
This led to a year in a drug treatment facility and three years probation.                         
Downey, Jr. made a brief and uncredited cameo in the fifth and final season of                     
the series the following year.                                                                     
The book Conversations With Woody Allen reports that director Woody Allen wanted                   
to cast Downey, Jr. and Winona Ryder in his film Melinda and Melinda in 2000,                       
but was unable to do so because he could not get insurance on them, stating "We                     
couldn't get bonded. The completion bonding companies would not bond the picture                   
unless we could insure them. We were heartbroken because I had worked with                         
Winona before [on "Celebrity"] and thought she was perfect for this and wanted                     
to work with her again. And I had always wanted to work with Bob Downey and                         
always thought he was a huge talent".                                                               
Downey, Jr. appeared in Elton John's video for the single "I Want Love" in 2001.                   
On November 23, 2004, he released his debut musical album, The Futurist, on Sony                   
Classical, for which he designed the cover art. He was invited to open for                         
Duran Duran in 2005, but declined due to film commitments. He returned to                           
mainstream films in the mid 2000s, with Gothika, for which Joel Silver withheld                     
40 percent of his salary until after production wrapped, as insurance against                       
his addictive behavior; similar insurance has become standard in his contracts                     
since then. He had three roles in 2005 and seven roles in 2006. Among them                         
were Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Good Night, and Good Luck., The Shaggy Dog, A Scanner                   
Darkly, Zodiac, and Fur. One of his most recent starring roles is as Principal                     
Gardner in the teen comedy Charlie Bartlett, released in February 2008. He will                     
next star in the film Iron Man as the title character, scheduled for release                       
on May 2, 2008.