is one talented actor who owes his talent to his father Robert Downey Sr who has long left his footprints in the sands of Hollywood. Like his son, the senior Downey is a man of many talents. In addition to acting, he made his mark as a producer, writer, director, and cinematographer before hanging up his hat for good. Downey now spends his time away from the media having retired sometime in 2013. Here is a look at Downey’s illustrious career as well as some facts about his personal life.
Who is Robert Downey Sr. and How Old is He?
The senior Downey was born on the 24th day of June 1936 in Manhattan, New York City to Elizabeth (née McLauchlen) and Robert Elias Sr. One could rightly say that Downey inherited his artistic genes from his mother Elizabeth who was a model and made a name for herself as a CoverGirl, she was known as Beth McLauchlen. She was of Irish and Hungarian Jewish ancestry. On the other hand, Downey’s father who was of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry was more business-oriented. He managed a group of motels and restaurants.
Downey’s father Robert Elias Sr. had named him Robert Elias Jr. upon his birth, however, he would later change his surname to his step-father’s name – Downey – so he could enlist in the US Army. Robert Downey Sr was quite an athletic young man; he played in the minor league baseball where he became a golden gloves champion.
In his early twenties, he developed a flair for playwrighting and began his own films which were basement budget indie films that leaned towards the Absurdist movement. Robert Downey Sr had become a renowned filmmaker by the 1960s and was among the counterculture filmmakers of the time.
His 16 mm films quickly gained underground popularity, among them, were Ball’s Bluff, Babo 73, and No More Excuses. By the early 70s, his films had begun to gain mainstream popularity, they included Putney Swope and Greaser’s Palace. Robert Downey Sr continued to make and write films into the new millennium and retired in 2013.
Robert Downey Sr was more prolific as a filmmaker than as an actor and as the story goes, he never really did consider himself a great actor. He played only small roles in his films including No More Excuses. He began to act more in the mid-80s and 90s. Some of the films he had major acting roles include Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Family Man, and 2011’s Tower Heist – his last acting role.
Robert Downey Sr did well to not only bless the world with his talents but made sure to pass them on to his offspring. Downey’s family consist of his wife, Rosemary Rogers, and his two children – son, Robert Downey Jr and daughter, Allyson Downey. Downey’s wife, Rogers is a renowned author who is perhaps best recognized for her book Saints Preserve Us! which was a Randon House best-seller. They got married in 1998 and have since stayed together, they reside together in their home in New York City.
However, Downey’s two children didn’t come from his union with Rogers but with his first wife, Elsie Ann Downey (née Ford) whom he married in 1962. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in divorce in 1975. Of Robert Downey’s two children, the most popular is his son, Rober Downey Jr who has become a Marvel staple and as a result, has become one of the world’s highest-paid actors. His daughter Allyson is more active as a writer as she only acts occasionally.
Robert Downey Sr did make sure to involve his children in the show business quite early in their lives. Both his children have his films to thank for their early exposure to acting as they each made their acting debut in Pound, a 1970 film directed by their father. For Downey Sr, acting and filming was a family business. His children would go on to appear in several of his films with Downey Jr appearing together with his father in a couple including Hail Ceasar (1994). Additionally, his first wife, Elsie, was an actress who not only acted in but co-wrote some of his films.
After his first marriage, Robert Downey Sr married a second wife, actress-writer Laura Ernst in 1991, her unfortunate death in 1994 as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease saw the untimely end of their marriage.
Robert Downey Sr had the peak of his entertainment career at a time when not so much money was in the filmmaking business, however, with consistency across generations he was able to build a decent wealth estimated at $10 million, a figure that shrinks in comparison to his son Robert Downey Jr’s $300 million.