10 things you never knew about RDJ’s father filmmaker

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As was revealed fairly recently in a Instagram post by Robert Downey Jr, his father Robert Downey Sr. sadly passed away on July 7, 2021 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. It is not only a huge loss for the Downey family, but also a huge loss for the film industry as a whole.

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Not many people know this, but Robert Downey Sr. had a pioneering career as a filmmaker, with films selected in his filmography, especially one called Putney Swope—considered a revolutionary milestone of its time. It’s a huge loss, but rather than mourning, it seems more appropriate to celebrate the life and achievements of Robert Downey Sr., as well as educate young readers on what made Sr. so special, opening the day. way to the future actor of Iron Man. to have an exceptional career.

ten Robert Downey is not really his birth name


robert downey sr his son and his son

Robert Downey Jr. is one of Hollywood’s strongest and most memorable names. It’s no wonder he kept his birth name rather than working under a pseudonym or stage name. Funny enough, Robert Downey Jr.’s father was not born with the name Robert Downey.

Originally Robert Downey Sr. was born Robert Elias Jr., after his father Robert Elias Sr. He chose to change his name to Downey only by borrowing the last name of his stepfather, Jim Downey. , when he wanted to enlist in the army. The name stuck with him for the rest of his career.

9 He joined the army when he was a minor


Speaking of Robert Downey Sr.’s stint in the military, he came at a time when young Robert was too young to enlist legally. Downey Sr. enlisted when he was just 15, but since it was in the 1950s, it was much easier for soldiers to just lie to get into the military. All it took was a false name and a false age before Downey was enlisted.

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True, he spent most of his time in the Palisades, where he ended up using his spare time to write a novel that ultimately never got published. He also wrote a few plays during his stay and the experience convinced him to become a writer, marking his path to a career in screenwriting and writing off-Broadway plays.

8 He played baseball against. Yogi berra


yogi berra

During this military palisade race, young Robert Downey Sr. and co. received a visit from none other than the New York Yankees, who were then touring the Far East. Since Downey spent much of his youth playing minor league baseball, he was up for a semi-pro challenge. Keep in mind that this era of the Yankees was ruled by the legendary Hall of Fame, Yogi Berra.

Downey would admit he actually played a good game for the first two innings. That all changed when Yogi Berra hit a triple, sending Downey straight back to the palisades he came from.

7 He’s a former Golden Gloves boxing champion


As if being a writer, playwright and director, all before the age of 22, nothing less, wasn’t impressive enough, Robert Downey Sr. also dabbled in the art of boxing around the same time. . He had no previous training, but at 6’3 and 149 pounds he was tall for his weight and decided he would provide a tough fight for his size. Plus, as a boxing fan, he just wanted to try it out.

He had his fair share of wins and losses against experienced men and men who had no idea what they were doing in the ring, but his skills were impressive enough to earn him the Golden Gloves.

6 His family tree


robert downey jr, son, wife, stepmom and dad

It has been well documented that Robert Downey Jr. led his own interesting life, so it’s no surprise that he was just a piece of the old block when his father was born into an interesting life himself. .

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Born in Manhattan, New York, and raised in Rockville Center, New York, Robert Downey Sr. was the son of Elizabeth (who had his own modeling career) and Robert Elias Sr. (who worked in motels and restaurants ). Equally fascinating is his lineage, he had a mother who was half Hungarian Jewish and half Irish while also having Lithuanian Jewish grandparents.

5 His best film was controversial


Today, Robert Downey Sr.’s most popular film, Putney swope, is revered as a cult classic, but upon its initial release the film sparked controversy for its comments on race and capitalism in the advertising world. “I had a great time doing it, [but] big problem when it was done, nobody wanted it “, he said Interview magazine.

Downey Sr. struggled to release the film in theaters and faced controversy over his movie poster, featuring a middle finger with the tagline “Up yours, Madison Ave”. The Los Angeles Times refused to publish the poster in their newspaper as publications like the Chicago Sun-Times removed it from their newspapers following the controversy.

4 Jane Fonda helped the film succeed


During the same Interview Magazine article, Downey Sr. admits that during her struggles with the film, Oscar winner Jane Fonda appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and during his interview, said that Putney swope was a masterpiece that everyone should see. Downey Sr. had never met Fonda before or after the interview, but his statement was enough to give the film the boost it needed at the box office.

The film’s official box office stats are unknown (box office returns weren’t as calculated in 1969 as they are today), but Jane Fonda’s co-signing certainly helped watch the product better. , paving the way for the 2016 national film film. Registry entry.

3 Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights pay homage to RDS and Putney Swope


With Paul Thomas Anderson being such a well-documented film enthusiast, it’s no surprise that the writer / director is, in fact, a huge fan of Putney Swope. As such, his second feature film, Boogie evenings, pays homage to the film by naming Don Cheadle’s character “Buck Swope”. In addition, Wing Sony (a Chinese businessman from Putney swope) was PTA’s inspiration for Cosmo. In fact, during the DVD commentary, PTA admits to shamelessly ripping off the Sony character to create Cosmo.

Better yet, Downey Sr. makes an appearance in Boogie evenings as record exec. During the same commentary track, Anderson reveals that Downey Sr. hasn’t acted often in his career because he never remembers his lines, but he was happy to make an exception for this film.

2 He and his son bonded while smoking weed


robert downey and his father

In an interview with The Guardian, Robert Downey Sr. remembers spending a joint on his Oscar-nominated future son when he was just six years old. “You should try some of that instead of drinking,” he told Jr, addressing his own alcohol addiction. Sr. then immediately regretted it. “And suddenly I knew I had made a terrible, stupid mistake.”

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Despite his regrets, it wouldn’t be the last time the father-son duo took drugs together. This persisted as Downey Jr. got older. As Robert Downey Jr. revealed in his book The new breed, “When my dad and I did drugs together, it was like trying to express his love for me the only way he knew how.”

1 Jr. and Sr. have already acted together


screenshot of johnny be good

Speaking of ties between the Downey family, some of Robert Downey Jr.’s first screen appearances were in films directed by his old man. The films in question were Grind (Jr.’s acting debut), Greaser’s Palace, Moment to Moment, Up the Academy, America, Loued Lips, Too Much Sun, and Hugo swimming pool. However, the most interesting thing about this duo isn’t the movies where Jr.’s father was behind the camera, but where they both shared the screen.

Jr. and Sr. didn’t often act together, but when they did, they made it count. Sr. has an appearance in Johnny be good, where Downey Jr. co-starred alongside Anthony Michael Hall. The father-son duo shared the screen again in the 1994s Hi Caesar, another boyfriend movie starring Hall and Downey Jr.

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