Robert Downey Jr. has been a Hollywood mainstay since the 1980’s. His career may have hit a bump 20 years ago but he came back swinging and better than ever. Today, we shine our Hollywood Spotlight on the life and career of this talented star.
Showing Incredible Promise
One of Robert Downey Jr.’s most notable first roles was as a member of the Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast from 1985-1986. Just 20 years old at the time, he had a very small resume but his talent was apparent. He did not return for another season but SNL gave his fledgling career just the boost it needed.
In 1987, the celebrity starred in The Pick-Up Artist, a romantic comedy with the 1980’s “It Girl” Molly Ringwald. While the movie was not loved by critics, Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the womanizer solidified his standing as a Hollywood up-and-comer. It also linked his life and career to the ever-popular Brat Pack.
But it was the actor’s portrayal of Charlie Chaplin that caught the attention of audiences and critics alike. The biopic Chaplin (1992) cast him in the titular role opposite big Hollywood names like Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Kline and Penelope Ann Miller. Robert Downey Jr. took his turn as the legendary comedian quite seriously. He learned to play violin and how to play tennis with his left hand. But nothing was more impressive than the way he physically embodied Chaplin’s character.
His hard work paid off. While he lost to Al Pacino for Scent of a Woman, the young star earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
He Is Iron Man
Like many of today’s most popular stars, Robert Downey Jr. hit it big with his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cast as billionaire and tech wizard Tony Stark/Iron Man, Iron Man (2008) was the first installment in the diverse franchise. The superhero movie was a record-breaker from the moment it premiered in theaters. Not only did it perform admirably at the box office, it also wowed critics and audiences.
Robert Downey Jr. continued his role of Tony Stark for the next 11 years. To date, the MCU has produced 23 movies. And he has been the busiest man in the franchise, appearing in 11 of the films! In addition to the success of his own series, Iron Man 2 (2010) and Iron Man 3 (2013), he also played a pivotal role in the Avengers series as well as Spiderman: Homecoming.
When his turn as Iron Man ended, fans were in tears. But as Robert Downey Jr. said goodbye to this career-making role, we knew we could expect more great things.
Hollywood Facts and Figures
Since beginning his entertainment career, Robert Downey Jr. has racked up a number of impressive acknowledgements and accolades. In addition to his Oscar nominations for Chaplin and Tropic Thunder (2008), the star has also won three Golden Globes, one BAFTA, five People’s Choice Awards and a slew of other awards. But his list of recognitions do not stop at awards.
In 2008, Time Magazine honored Robert Downey Jr. as one of their Most Influential People. Thanks to the success of the MCU, he was one of the top 10 highest paid hollywood actor from 2013 to 2015. But most impressively, he is now the second highest-grossing box-office star of all time!
Other movies and television shows on this talented celebrity’s resume include: Chances Are (1989), Soapdish (1991), Natural Born Killers (1994), Only You (1994), Ally McBeal (2000-2002), Gothika (2003), Zodiac (2007), Due Date (2010), The Judge (2014) and Dr. Dolittle (2020).
Charities & Causes
Not only is Robert Downey Jr. a busy actor, he is also an active philanthropist. And his selection of causes is quite diverse. The star serves on the board of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Focused on criminal justice reform, the Los-Angeles-based non-profit also assists former prisoners adapt and thrive in their life following prison.
Over the years, the celebrity has supported environmentalism, cancer research, childhood illness, and Alzheimer’s research among many others. But the charity closest to his heart must be the one he started with his wife: Random Act Funding. Every year, the foundation sends their financial support to groups working on the local, national and worldwide level. To date, this giving non-profit has helped over 100 organizations in their respective charitable missions.
One project we hope will start soon is an as-yet-untitled biopic. Robert Downey Jr. is set to star in the film focusing on the life of a notorious 20th-century scam artist. Not much is known about the status of the film but, based upon the big Hollywood names connected to it, the film is already garnering Oscar buzz.
We are also waiting for a release date of All-Star Weekend. Written and directed by Jamie Foxx, this movie is filled with Hollywood favorites. Robert Downey Jr., Eva Longoria, Benicio del Toro, Gerard Butler, Ken Jeong and Jamie Foxx star in the sports-comedy.
Of course, with the success of Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes series, it’s not surprising a third movie is in the works. Scheduled for a December 22, 2021 release date, this latest installment follows Sherlock as he travels to America. Much of the information surrounding this movie is hush-hush. With hope, we will learn more as the movie begins production.
With Tony Stark’s death at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. all but said goodbye to the MCU. However, fans have one more sliver of hope to see their favorite snarky superhero. Perhaps the actor will appear in Black Widow, the stand-alone story of Natasha Romanova. Set for an April 24, 2020 premiere, we shall find out in just a few weeks!