Robert Downey Jr., One of the most famous and respected names in the entertainment industry. Most of you recognise him by the name Tony Stark. You have known him at his best but unfortunately, his journey includes a lot of worst too. Things that he may not be very proud of or maybe he is as those mistakes in his past made him the wonderful person he is today. Let me take you to the exhilarating journey of our Iron-Man.
The journey begins
Downey Jr. was born in New York City on April 4, 1965, the son of a writer and director Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Downey. His mother was the reason behind his interest towards acting. He learned the basics from her at an early age. His father was a nice director but ironically it was him who directed his own son towards a dark world of drugs. He offered Downey a marijuana joint at an age of just 6 years, something that he still regrets. For that little innocent kid, it was something super cool and he went bogged down in the net soon.
But he never let his addiction come in between him and acting. He made his debut as an actor in the film Pound (1970) at an age of 5 in which he played a sick puppy. He continued to do some minor roles until his first film as a lead, The Pick-up Artist (1987), a romantic comedy. He got his breakthrough from Less Than Zero (1987) in which he played party loving, cocaine-addicted Julian Wells, A character that more or less resembled Downey Jr.
“I was playing this junkie faggot guy, and for me, the role was like the ghost of Christmas future, The character was an exaggeration of myself. Then things changed and in some ways, I became an exaggeration of the character. That lasted far longer than it needed to last.”
His career continued to advance forward. He earned a lot of praise and admiration by his work in Soapdish (1991) and established himself as a critically acclaimed actor after his performance in Chaplin (1992), for which he received an Academy Award nomination and won the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award for Best Actor.
Sadly his drug addiction continued following him. When on one hand the world was praising him for his fine work, on the other hand, he earned a reputation as a troubled and controversial figure in Hollywood.
In the same year, he got married to actress/musician Deborah Falconer on May 29, after a 42-day courtship. The status and responsibilities as a husband somehow kept him away from drugs.
After two years, in September 1993 the couple had a son, Indio and everything just started to be perfect. But who knew it was the silence before the storm.
In July 1996, he was stopped by police for overspeeding his Porsche on Sunset Boulevard and found him not only naked but in possession of cocaine, heroin and a .357 magnum. Although he had been in trouble for drugs before but this time it was something big.
Less than a month later, just a few hours before he was slated to be charge Downey got himself in a new trouble when he was found passed out on the bed of a neighbour’s child.
He then was ordered to a treatment facility in Marina Del Ray. Four days later, he escaped through the bathroom window and hitchhiked to a friend’s house in Malibu. Security found him after four hours and this time they hauled him off to jail.
“It’s like I have a shotgun in my mouth, and I’ve got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gunmetal.”
For the next several years, his life was a haze of headlines generating, dependency induced mistakes and their consequences. In November 2000, Downey got arrested again on drugs and weapon charges in Palm Springs, California where he was discovered with cocaine and meth in a wonder woman costume.
With this role, Downey reminded his fans and critics of his talent and versatility and won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award in 2001.
But here also his drug addiction didn’t leave him alone. In April 2001, he again got arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance in Los Angeles after he was found wandering in an alley barefoot.The arrest faded the upswing he got in his career by Alley McBeal and got fired by the producer. Around the same time, the strain in his marriage due to his drug addiction reached the breakpoint. Deborah left him and took their son with her.
Downey’s life was completely unravelling. He was unable to find work due to his past troubles with the law. A time came in his life when he even worked as a piece of living art in a SoHo nightclub. Fortunately, he got great friends who supported him in his bad days and stuck by his side. His friend Mel Gibson with whom Downey co-starred in Air America (1990)found him work, casting him in the 2003 film The Singing Detective. The two actors remain close friends, today.
He met a pretty woman Susan Levin, the producer of the thriller, Gothika on the set and they fell in love. From there Downey’s life turned around. This time he chose his love and life over drugs. The support of family and friends helped him stay clean. After two years on the thirtieth birthday of Susan, he proposed her and soon they married. His life finally returned to track.
“Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there.”
In 2008, he joined Marvel and gave life to the character Tony Stark. People loved him as Iron-Man and the film became a Blockbuster. From there he never looked back. He went through a lot in his life but never left his passion behind. The hardwork and dedication he put into his work paid back and he became one of the highest paid actors and surely one of the most loved too.
“I think you end up doing the stuff you were supposed to do at the time you were supposed to do it.”