Filmmaker and actor Robert Downey Sr. died at his home in New York at the age of 85.
The father of “Iron Man” actor Robert Downey Jr., Downey Sr. appeared in movies “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “To Live and Die in L.A.” But he was also a longtime director of cult-classic films from the 1960s onward, including the searing satire “Putney Swope,” and also has credits as a writer and producer.
Downey Jr. took to social media to share the sad news. He posted a black-and-white photo of his father as a younger man on Facebook.
“RIP Bob D. Sr. 1936-2021,” wrote the actor in a Facebook post dated July 7. “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.”
Downey Sr. was born Robert Elias Jr. in 1936. When enlisting in the U.S. Army while underage, he took his stepfather James Downey’s surname. In 1962, he married Elsie Ann Ford, with whom he had his only two children: daughter Allyson in 1963, and son Robert Jr. in 1965. They divorced after 20 years of marriage. After his second wife, Laura Ernst, died of ALS in 1994, he made a film to raise awareness about the disease, “Hugo Pool.”
His children made their big-screen debut in 1970 in his film “Pound,” a comedy about dogs — portrayed by humans — waiting to be adopted from an animal shelter. At the time, Robert Jr. was just 5, and Allyson was 7. Robert Downey Jr. went on to star in several more of his father’s films and acted alongside him in movies such as “Johnny Be Good” and “Hail Caesar.”
Downey Sr. is survived by his third wife, Rosemary Rogers, whom he married in 1998, and his two children. He’d had Parkinson’s disease for more than five years, the Associated Press reported.