Robert Sr. and Robert Jr.
Arts & Entertainment
Hollywood loves a family act, and the father-son team of Robert Downey Sr. and Robert Downey Jr. have delivered when it comes to perseverance and creativity in the business. Robert Downey Sr. was born to an Irish-American mother, famous cover-girl Betty McLoughlin, and a Jewish father.
Before becoming a successful filmmaker Downey Sr. served in the army (he changed his name upon enlisting from Robert Elias to Robert Downey after his stepfather.) Once discharged, he joined the minor leagues and pitched against the then-unknown Yogi Berra and struck him out. By 23, he was producing films.
In the 1960s, Downey Sr. released a string of independent low-budget absurdist films that gained an underground following. With his 1969 release of "Putney Swope," Downey achieved mainstream success - the film was ranked in 1969's Top 10 films by New York magazine. His 1970 release, "Pound," included his son, Robert Downey Jr.'s, first film appearance.
It may seem easy to make it in Hollywood when your father is a filmmaker and you've been onscreen since age five. But Robert Downey Jr.'s trip to the top of the Hollywood hill was long and arduous, and he fought for every bit of fame he has won. After his debut as a youngster, Downey Jr. joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" for one season in 1985 and then went on to appear in Hollywood films. He became a break-through star in 1987 with "The Pick-up Artist" in which he played opposite brat-packer Molly Ringwald, and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award in 1992 for his performance in "Chaplin." He also became a hit on the television show "Ally McBeal," for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Today, Downey Jr., who is married to Susan Levin Downey, continues to act, appearing in films such as "Gothika" and "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"; he gave especially memorable performances in "Wonder Boys" and "Good Night, and Good Luck." This May, "Iron Man," based on the hit comic book series of the same name, will be Downey Jr.'s biggest budgeted movie to date.
Always looking for new ways to perform, Downey Jr. (whose mother Elsie Ford was a singer and dancer) revealed his singing talent "on Ally McBeal" and in 2005 released "The Futurist" which featured eight of his own pop-ballads and "Smile," a Charlie Chaplin composition.
Robert Downey Sr., who is married to Irish-American writer Rosemary Rogers, has also continued his film career, with films such as "Up the Academy," "America," "Rented Lips," and "Hugo Pool." He is currently working on a documentary about the music of Kurt Weill, which features Fiona Apple and her sister, Maude Maggart, and is also doing a remake of "Putney Swope" in which Downey Jr. appears. We can only hope that Jr. will be willing to play a puppy again in a remake of "Pound."
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