Robert John Downey Sr. (born Robert Elias Jr.; June 24, 1936) is a retired American actor, director, producer, writer, cinematographer, and the father and namesake of actor Robert Downey Jr. He is known for writing and directing the underground film Putney Swope, a satire on the New York Madison Avenue advertising world. According to film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon, Downey Sr.'s films during the 1960s were "strictly take-no-prisoners affairs, with minimal budgets and outrageous satire, effectively pushing forward the countercultural agenda of the day."
Downey has been married three times. His first marriage was to actress Elsie Ann Downey (née Ford), with whom he had two children: actress-writer Allyson Downey and actor Robert Downey Jr. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975. His second marriage, to actress-writer Laura Ernst, ended with her 1994 death from Lou Gehrig's disease. In 1998 he married his third wife, Rosemary Rogers, author of Random House bestseller Saints Preserve Us! and seven other books. They live in New York City.
Robert John Downey Sr. was born in Manhattan, New York City, the son of Elizabeth (née McLauchlen), a model, and Robert Elias Sr., who worked in management of motels and restaurants. His paternal grandparents were Lithuanian Jews, while his mother was of half Irish and half Hungarian-Jewish ancestry. The elder Downey was born Robert Elias Jr., but he later changed his surname for his stepfather, James Downey, when he wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army, but was underage at the time.
Movies & TV shows
Robert Downey: Moment to Moment
Sean Price Willams pays tribute to one of his filmmaking heroes with a style that is just as out there as his subject, mixing new material and never-before-seen archival footage in this portrait of th...
Searching for Mr. Rugoff
The feature documentary Searching for Mr. Rugoff is the story of Donald Rugoff, who was the crazy genius behind Cinema 5, the mid-century theater chain and film distribution company. Rugoff was a diff...
Don't Blink: Robert Frank
The life and work of Robert Frank—as a photographer and a filmmaker—are so intertwined that they're one in the same, and the vast amount of territory he's covered, from The Americans in 1958 up to the...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
A man with a personal journey that spans from Havana to his current home in the garage behind his son's house is the subject of a documentary.
Finding Your Roots
Henry Louis Gates was the son of Gates. He was a scholar at Harvard. People can look in the branches of their family trees. Professor Gates utilizes a team of genealogists to reconstruct the paper tra...
The story of legendary New York City disc jockey Bob Fass who pioneered free expression on the airwaves with his long running radio program 'Radio Unnameable'.
A group of workers are going to get revenge on a Wall Street fraudster. The unlikely crew of amateur thieves enlisted the help of a small-time crook to steal the $20 million they are sure is hidden in...
A Touch of Greatness
In an era when Dick, Jane, and discipline ruled America's schools, Albert Cullum allowed Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Shaw to reign in his fifth grade public school classroom. Through the use of poetry...
Rittenhouse Square is an impressionistic, music-filled documentary about a small Philadelphia park - "the spot" - where people go to meet friends, find romance, muse about life and enjoy the beauty of...
The Family Man
Jack disarmed the attacker. He woke up next to Kate, the college sweetheart he left to pursue his career. Jack has to choose between his high-power career and the woman he loves as he stumbles through...
When sex was safe, pleasure was a business and business was booming, idealistic porn producer Jack Horner aspires to elevate his craft to an art form. Horner discovers Eddie Adams, a hot young talent ...
A young man who is dying of Lou Gerhig's Disease is in love with a Los Angeles pool cleaner.
Caesar has a hard time dividing his time between his band and girlfriend. Ceasar is disliked by Buffer's dad. He bet by calling in Caesar. If Caesar makes a hundred thousand dollars in six months, he ...
A teenage musician is on the run from his killers and the police when he returns home to find his home empty and his family gone.
Johnny Be Good
Johnny Walker is America's hottest young football prospect despite being short and scrawny. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local ...
A documentary filmmaker, who has spent the last 15 years making films like "Aluminum: Our Shiny Friend," is finally given the chance to make the documentary on Indian farming he has always wanted to. ...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Produc...
The crew of a New York cable TV station got a lot of attention after bouncing a signal off the moon.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The Twilight Zone
The style of the 1980s revival of the classic sci-fi series is similar to that of the original anthology series. The stories are usually horror or suspense and have a surprising twist at the end. The ...
To Live and Die in L.A.
The counterfeiter who killed his partner is going to be brought down by a fearless Secret Service agent.
Energy and How to Get It
Filmed in Wendover, Nevada, in early 1981, Energy and How to Get It combines documentary and fictional ideas. What began as a documentary film about Robert Golka, an engineer who was experimenting wit...
The Gong Show Movie
A week in the life of Chuck Barris, the creator of "The Gong Show".
Up the Academy
There is a kind of mixture between 'Animal House' and Police Academy. Four boys are sent to the same place. There is a military academy. The life of dicipline is a lot of work. These boys know how to ...
You've Got To Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat
Zalman King is a counterculture comedy that follows him as he searches for his life's purpose in New York City.
Is There Sex After Death?
Driving through New York City in his Sexmobile, Dr. Harrison Rogers of the Bureau of Sexological Investigation, searches out luminary figures in the world of sex.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
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