×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
VIEW
×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
VIEW
Skip to main content
Tags: robert downey | dead | director

Robert Downey's Dad Dead at 85 Following Parkinson's Battle

Robert Downey's Dad Dead at 85 Following Parkinson's Battle
Filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty)

By    |   Thursday, 08 July 2021 11:49 AM EDT

Robert Downey Sr., director of several cult classic films and father to actor Robert Downey Jr., has died at 85 following a battle with Parkinson's. 

Downey Jr. confirmed the news Thursday in an Instagram post in which he paid tribute to his father.

"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," he wrote. "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."

Born in New York City, Downey Sr. gained a cult following in the ‘60s, after directing several micro-budget underground films including "Balls Bluff" (1961), "Babo 73" (1964) and "No More Excuses" (1968), according to Variety

He found mainstream success in 1969, after directing the countercultural satire "Putney Swope," which New York Magazine listed in its 10 top films of the year. From there, Downey Sr. went on to release dozens of other titles like "Pound," a film that has humans play dogs awaiting adoption, and "Greaser’s Palace," which is a parable based on the life of Christ that takes place in a Western setting. In 1973, he caused a stir when he directed David Rabe’s play "Sticks and Bones," which was a live broadcast for CBS that saw sponsors pull out at the last minute due to the play's anti-war sentiments, forcing the network to air it without interruptions. 

Downey Sr.' 1990 film "Too Much Sun" gained attention thanks to its cast that included his son, Downey Jr. He also acted in films including "Boogie Nights" (1997), "Magnolia" (1999) and "The Family Man" (2000).

Downey Sr. was married to Elsie Ann Ford from 1962 to 1982. They later divorced and she died in 2014. They shared Robert Downey Jr. and Allyson Downey. He then married Laura Ernst in 1991, but she also died in 1994. He married author Rosemary Rogers in 1998. 

Following the death of Ford, Downey Jr. wrote a heartfelt message in which he revealed that she was once an alcoholic. She came clean in the 1990s. Her decision shaped her son's own road to sobriety.

"In the summer of 2004, I was in bad shape," Downey Jr. wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post. "She called me out of the blue, and I admitted everything. I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since."

Related Stories:

Zoe Papadakis

Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


TheWire
Robert Downey Sr., director of several cult classic films and father to actor Robert Downey Jr., has died at 85 following a battle with Parkinson's. Downey Jr. confirmed the news Thursday in an Instagram post in which he paid tribute to his father.
robert downey, dead, director
435
2021-49-08
Thursday, 08 July 2021 11:49 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
TOP

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved