Robert Downey Jr.: Snapshot

Robert Downey Jr.
Date of Birth
April 04, 1965
Birth Place
New York, New York
Hollywood loves a comeback story – and no one's survived the highs and lows of fame better than Robert Downey Jr.

Raised by industry parents, Downey became a rising star as part of the Brat Pack and proved his acting prowess with an Oscar-nominated turn in Chaplin. But the talented actor also publicly battled a drug and alcohol addiction that landed him in and out of prison and rehab for six years.

After getting clean in 2002, the resilient talent appeared in Good Night, and Good Luck, landed another Oscar nomination for his daring role in Tropic Thunder and headlined box-office blockbusters Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes – career achievements he credits to his producer wife Susan and two sons. He now has a fourth person to thank: he and Susan welcomed a daughter in November 2014.

Robert Downey Jr.: Video

Time Machine

From Brat Pack teen idol to grown-up box office superhero, see the birthday boy's amazing transformation! (00:49)

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Robert Downey Jr.: Five Fun Facts

  1. Robert Downey Jr. was considered for the role of Duckie in the '80s teen classic Pretty in Pink – which eventually went to Jon Cryer.
  2. Robert Downey Jr. is a self-professed metrosexual. "Almost every day I change at least three times," he told InStyle. "If I go away for a weekend, I swear to God I need the biggest Samsonite you can imagine."
  3. In 1985, a 20-year-old Robert Downey Jr. was a cast member on 18 episodes of Saturday Night Live, with fellow Brat Packer pal Anthony Michael Hall.
  4. Robert Downey Jr. scored praise from his African-American costar after donning "black face" in Tropic Thunder. "To be honest, he played a black dude better than anybody I've seen!" Brandon T. Jackson told PEOPLE.
  5. For his 36th birthday, fans sent Robert Downey Jr. a framed letter written by Charlie Chaplin – whom he played in a 1992 biopic.

Robert Downey Jr.: Biography


Robert Downey Jr.

Troubled Beginnings

At 5, Robert Downey Jr. – the son of director Robert Downey and actress Elsie Downey – makes his film debut playing a puppy in his father's film Pound. While his director father introduces him to acting, he also introduces him to marijuana as a kid. "When my dad and I would do drugs together," he says, "it was like him trying to express his love for me in the only way he knew how."


Robert Downey Jr.

Young Love

Downey falls for Firstborn costar Sarah Jessica Parker, and the couple soon moves in together. But the actor's drug use causes tension in their relationship. "I liked to drink, and I had a drug problem, and that didn't jibe with Sarah Jessica," he later tells Parade. In 1991, Parker ends their seven-year relationship. "She tried to help me," he says. "She was so miffed when I didn't get my act together."


Robert Downey Jr.


Hollywood's Rising Star

After briefly appearing on Saturday Night Live in 1985, Downey catches Hollywood's eye with star turns in The Pick-up Artist and Less Than Zero, in which he plays a junkie. Having shot the film at the height of his addiction, the actor later tells the Chicago Tribune, "I didn't know if art was imitating life, or what was imitating what."

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Photo Credits

Top Left: Evan Agostini/AP

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Ron Galella/WireImage; Barry King/Wireimage; Everett

Edited by Julia Wang

Robert Downey Jr.

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