The Daily Mail reported that Downey passed away in peacefully in his sleep. The former actor and director had a lengthy Hollywood career dating back to the 1950s, but retired in 2011. For the past five years, Downey has suffered from Parkinson’s disease. In addition, his wife Rosemary confirmed her husband’s death to the outlet.
As news broke of the Iron Man actor’s father passing away, many waited to hear Downey Jr. speak about his family’s loss. This afternoon, the Hollywood A-lister broke his silence and posted about his father’s death on social media. He referenced his dad’s fight with Parkinson’s and also made sure to thank his stepmom who he called a “saint.”
“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,” Robert Downey Jr. wrote on Instagram.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Father and His Own Hollywood Career
In 1936, Robert Elias, Jr. was born, but later took the last name of his stepdad James Downey. Robert Downey Jr.’s father didn’t change his last name for his love of his stepfather though. He amusingly tried to join the military as a teenager and tried to trick recruiters with the name change. Yet Downey’s attempts to fool the military were unsuccessful.
His career in the entertainment industry began in the 1950s. It didn’t take Downey long to become a prominent figure in the independent film industry. He became known for his work that revolved around 1960s counter-culture. For example, movies he directed like Putney Swope, which took aim at the establishment of the era.
Additionally, Robert Downey Jr.’s father worked as a second unit director on Cold Turkey. The 1971 film starring Dick Van Dyke focused on an entire town that attempted to quit smoking cigarettes. The following year, the director released his mainstream hit Greaser’s Palace, which still incorporated the biting social commentaries that he became well-known for.
During his lengthy career, Downey made appearances in both film and television, but is best known for his directing. In addition to numerous other movies he was involved in over the years, he also directed multiple episodes of the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone. In 2011, Downey made his last appearance in a movie when he made a cameo as a judge in Tower Heist.