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Robert Downey Sr. Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (2) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 24 June 1935USA
Birth NameRobert John Elias Jr.
Nickname Bob
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Robert Downey Sr. served in the army, played minor-league baseball, was a Golden Gloves champion and off-off Broadway playwright, all before he was 22 years old.

Downey was born in New York City, New York, the son of Elizabeth (McLoughlin), a model, and Robert Elias, who worked in hotel/restaurant management. He took the surname of his stepfather, James Downey, when enlisting in the army. His father was of Lithuanian Jewish descent, while his mother was of half Irish and half Hungarian Jewish ancestry. In 1960, he began writing and directing basement-budgeted, absurdist films that gained an underground following: Balls Bluff (1961), Babo 73 (1964), Chafed Elbows (1966) and No More Excuses (1968). Putney Swope (1969) was the first Downey-directed film to earn a mainstream release. A devastating satire of Madison Avenue, it explored what happens when an African-American activist is given carte blanche at an advertising agency. The film was among the year's Top 10 Films in New York Magazine. Downey thrived in the laissez-faire film world of the 1970s with such irreverent films as Pound (1970), where humans play dogs waiting to be adopted. Around this time he worked on projects for Joseph Papp and the New York Public Theatre, directing David Rabe's play "Sticks and Bones" for CBS (Sticks and Bones (1973)). The strong anti-war sentiments expressed in this live broadcast resulted in a major controversy when its sponsors pulled out at the last minute, and the network had to air the film uninterrupted because it couldn't find a sponsor. His Greaser's Palace (1972) is an outrageous restaging of the life of Christ in "spaghetti western" terms. Time Magazine put this film on its list of the year's Top 10 movies. Downey's take-no-prisoners sense of humor is also apparent in Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight (1975) and Hugo Pool (1997) (world premiere at the Sundance festival in 1997), a film that examines a day in the life of a female pool cleaner in Hollywood. Rittenhouse Square (2005) was the feature presentation of the Galway Film Festival and his second teaming with Max L. Raab, having been a consultant on Raab's award-winning Strut! (2001).

From time to time Downey acts (badly, according to him) and he can be seen in films such as Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999) and The Family Man (2000). He has appeared twice on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), The Dick Cavett Show (1968), IFC's At the IFC Center (1997), Sundance Channel and countless other TV and radio shows. In addition, Downey has been a guest speaker at film festivals and universities throughout the country. He is developing an update of "Putney Swope". He lives in New York City with his wife, Rosemary Rogers.

Robert is the father of actors Robert Downey Jr. and Allyson Downey.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Liam McKenna (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (3)

Rosemary Rogers (8 May 1998 - present)
Laura Ernst (15 March 1991 - 27 January 1994) (her death)
Elsie Downey (1962 - 18 February 1982) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (5)

Father of Robert Downey Jr.
Father of Allyson Downey
Changed his last name to Downey, after his stepfather, at age 15, when he joined the army.
When in the army, he pitched against Yogi Berra, striking him out.
Downey's mother was famed cover girl, Betty McLoughlin.

Personal Quotes (2)

[describing his childhood]: It was like a bad version of "The Catcher In The Rye". My mother was groovy-looking and was married four times. I got booted out of three prep schools - St.Paul's, Peddie and Lawrenceville - and never got past the ninth-and-a-half grade. I was on athletics scholarships and I never went to classes.
[on his army service]: One of the times I fucked up was at an early warning radar post on Prince of Wales (Island), near the International Dateline. The lieutenant was asleep. So this other guy, from the Bronx, and I disconnected the phone back to Fairbanks. And we drew on the plotting board all these arrows representing bombers coming from Siberia. I woke up the lieutenant and he panicked. He went out of his skull. We let him stew awhile, and then we told him it was a joke. He was so happy, he laughed and cried and hugged us. Then he testified at our court-martial.

Salary (1)

Sweet Smell of Sex (1965) $750

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