Robert Downey Sr., a filmmaker, actor, writer, producer, and father of Robert Downey Jr., died early today at his home in New York at the age of 85 after a more than five-year bout with Parkinson’s disease, according to his family.
Despite Downey Sr.’s personal success, many younger fans may only know him from small parts in films such as Tower Heist (2011), or as the father of one the most recognizable actors in modern history. The younger Downey began acting in his father’s films at a very young age and would soon become a star in Hollywood, starring in movies such as Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, and several movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as Tony Stark/Iron Man.
Downey Jr. paid respect to his late father today in an Instagram post, which included a black-and-white photo of Downey Sr.
“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,” Downey Jr. said.
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To older fans, Downey Sr.’s greatest name to fame is likely Putney Swope, a satirical comedy Downey directed in the late 1960s. The film, which followed a black man on the board of a Madison Avenue advertising firm who becomes the chairman of the board, addressed controversial topics in race in America and corporate greed. Despite the film’s release poster, which featured a woman in place of an outstretched middle finger, being rejected by many of the major newspapers, the film performed well and has since been selected for the National Film Registry for being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.
Robert Downey Sr. was 85.