Robert Downey Sr., the accomplished countercultural filmmaker, actor and father of Robert Downey Jr. passed away at the age of 85. He passed away on Tuesday night peacefully in his sleep at home in New York. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease for more than five years. Downey Jr. shared the news of his demise on Instagram.
Sharing a picture of his father, Downey Jr. wrote, “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..According to my stepmoms 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.”
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Robert Downey Sr. was a Hollywood journeyman who made a name for himself with radical, anti-establishment films. He is known for having written and directed the underground film Putney Swope, a satire on the New York Madison Avenue advertising world. He also directed Greaser’s Palace starring Allan Arbus, his son Downey Jr, daughter Allyson Downey and first wife Elsie Downey.
He also acted in films, playing Thomas Bateman in To Live and Die in L.A., the studio manager in Boogie Nights and the show director in Magnolia. He was born in 1936 as Robert Elias Jr., but later changed his surname to Downey taking after his stepfather’s name.