Previously known to be a talented yet troubled actor because of his involvement with drugs, Robert John Downey Jr. fabulously has risen from his downfall to once more shine in the spotlight as one of the finest thespians of his generation. A son of independent filmmaker Robert Downey Sr. and actress Elsie Ford, acting inevitably has become an inseparable part in Robert's life from the day he was born on April 4, 1965 in New York City. Gradually getting familiar with show business supported by his mother's influence, surely it did not take a long time for him to develop a fascination in performing, even to begin his initial step in the field, thanks to his father's decision to include him in his 1970 effort of "Pound" at a mere age of 5. The fact that he had to live in different places like Connecticut, Paris, Woodstock, London, and California due to Downey Sr.'s profession apparently did not prevent him to nurture his interest for the boy then enthusiastically joined the Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts summer camp, to hone his skills in portraying characters, improvisation, also vocal technique.
Entering his early teen, Robert was forced to face the divorce of his parents in 1978, followed by the departure of his father also sister Allyson to California as he chose to remain with his mother in New York. However, the teen later decided to rejoin them four years later and entered the state's Santa Monica High School where he frequently was selected to perform in its stage productions. By this time, his desire to pursue an acting career had become really hard to resist so that he recklessly left his study earlier upon Downey Sr.'s approval before headed back to New York to start working his path in the entertainment world. After a handful of small parts in productions of either local or off-Broadway theaters, including those of "American Passion" and "Alms for the Middle Class", a good chance struck him when an agent who spotted his potentiality helped him to try out for film auditions in Los Angeles.
Managed to obtain his first credited role in Rosanna Arquette's vehicle of "Baby It's You" (1983), Robert moved forward to grab a bigger turn in "Firstborn" (1984) in which he shared the screen with Sarah Jessica Parker whom he dated shortly thereafter. Also appeared in "Weird Science", "Tuff Turf", plus "Mussolini: The Untold Story" throughout 1985, this brown-eyed guy then made his way to hit higher when he successfully impressed the casting panel of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) and in consequence became the show's member for one season. Lucky for him, one of his performances there attracted director James Toback who subsequently gave him the second billing to play the male lead in his 1986 picture, "The Pick-Up Artist", alongside Molly Ringwald and Dennis Hopper. It was such a relief for the struggling actor as the flick not only enabled him to gain audience's notice but also served as a good stepping-stone to secure a challenging role of Julian Wells in "Less Than Zero" (1987).
Wonderfully delivered a compelling dramatic enactment in that feature of Marek Kanievska, Robert in turn received huge praise from critics which unmistakably brought him to more public attention and exposure, leading him to land major roles in "Rented Lips" (1988), "True Believer" (1989), "Air America" (1990), also "Soapdish" (1991). By this time, his relationship with Sarah did not run well enough for them to keep staying on each other's side so that he finally ended the romance in August 1991 to afterwards grow a new love in model-turned-actress Deborah Falconer thus married her joyously by 1992, the same year his next film, "Chaplin", saw its release. It was through this particular picture that he eventually came to the highlight of his career when it directed him to get a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role category at Academy Awards and another of Golden Globe Awards in Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama along with the Best Actor title at BAFTA Awards in 1993.
Completed his accomplishment with the arrival of his son, Indio, on September 7, 1993, Robert firmly maintained his status in Hollywood during half of the '90s, starring in a series of high-profile movies, like "Short Cuts" (1993), "Natural Born Killers" (1994), "Richard III" (1995), and "Restoration" (1995). Sadly, the glory he encountered on screen was tainted by his awful behavior in real life, especially that of his dependence on drugs, as he got arrested for possessing Mexican black tar heroin, crack, cocaine also an unloaded .357 Magnum revolver while driving in intoxicated condition in June 1996. Sentenced to three years probation, he instead ended up in jail for six months after a Malibu municipal judge declared him guilty of violating parole on December 8, 1997 and later even was convicted to three years imprisonment in July 1999 for the same deed. However, he was released by summer 2000 when a California state appellate court discovered a sentencing error made by his trial judge.
Surprisingly able to film some big screen projects during the dark period, among others "One Night Stand" (1997), "U.S. Marshals" (1998), "Friends & Lovers" (1999), and "Wonder Boys' (2000), Robert tried to restore his reputation while struggled to overcome his drug addiction which he admitted to have carried on since 1970s. Fortunately, producer David E. Kelley gave him a chance to join the regular cast of his TV series production for Fox, "Ally McBeal" (1997-2002), and so he appeared as Larry Paul, the title character's boyfriend, by fall 2000 of the show's fourth season. His involvement amazingly turned out to be a great contribution to elevate its decreasing rating, even brought him to win a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actor Guild Award in 2001 aside from an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nomination at Emmy Awards. Nevertheless, all these accolades could not hinder him to again take drugs for he again was spotted being under drugs influence in April 2001, igniting Kelley to summarily fire him from the program.
Received a three-years probation, including one year in a drug rehabilitation center, Robert once more aimed to re-surface with the determination to keep remaining clean also sober in finding the road back to his old track in Hollywood. To his relief, a flicker of hope came from fellow actor Mel Gibson when the older man willingly included him in his star-studded movie production of "The Singing Detective" (2003) alongside Adrien Brody, Katie Holmes, Jeremy Northam, plus Robin Wright Penn. As he delightfully gained positive reviews for his portrayal there, other film roles began to come his way, beginning with "Gothika" (2003), followed by "Eros" (2004) then "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and "Good Night And Good Luck" which both came up in 2005. Despite this satisfying progress, his marriage life gravely went to its end for a judge ultimately granted Falconer's 2001 demand to have a divorce by April 26, 2004, but he quickly found her replacement in Susan Levin and got remarried on August 27, 2005 at the Windy Dunes estate in Amagansett, Long Island, New York.
Afterwards joined Rosario Dawson, Eric Roberts, also Dianne Wiest to film "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" (2006), Robert pleasantly found himself working on a regular basis again as two more vehicles of his, "The Shaggy Dog" and "A Scanner Darkly", were also released in the same year. The steady path smoothly continued up to the next two years through high-profile film stints like "Zodiac" (2007), "Lucky You" (2007), "Tropic Thunder" (2008), and "The Soloist" (2008). However, what launched him back to press' attention was none other than Jon Favreau's "Iron Man" (2008) when he was announced to play the titular character aka Tony Stark, known to be one of the most famous superheroes in Marvel Comics universe.
Apart from his acting career, Robert has also developed another profession as a music artist through the launching of his debut album, "The Futurist", under Sony Classical on November 23, 2004. In addition, this charming actor of Jewish, Irish, German and Scottish descent also had made a duet with Sting on The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and with Vonda Shepard on "Chances Are" for "Ally McBeal: For Once in My Life" soundtrack (2001).