Robert Downey Jr.'s father, Robert Downey Sr., dies at age 85

By Zach Harper

Robert Downey Jr.'s father, Robert Downey Sr., dies at age 85

Robert Downey Jr. is mourning the death of his father, Robert Downey Sr., who has passed away at age 85.

The younger Robert took to Instagram on July 7 to reveal his dad had died in his sleep at home in New York the night before.

"He was a true maverick filmmaker, and remained remarkably optimistic throughout," the Iron Man star wrote of his father, who had battled Parkinson's disease.

Born in Manhattan as Robert Elias, Robert Downey Sr. changed his surname to that of his stepfather's as a teenager. He got his start making counterculture films in the 1960s before moving into Hollywood later that decade. He may be best known for Putney Swope, a satirical film about the advertising industry starring the likes of Mel Brooks.

It was through Robert Sr. that his son first got into acting, appearing in the 1970 comedy Pound with his sister Allyson when he was just five years old and she was seven. The younger Robert continued to star in his dad's films from the 1970s to 1990s before branching out into more blockbuster Hollywood flicks. The elder Robert was also known for his acting, having made appearances in '90s flicks such as Boogie Nights and Magnolia in his later years.

"I remember an incredibly kind of thoughtful, considerate, affectionate and attentive dad," Robert Jr. said in 2016. "I choose to remember that because unconsciously there's these long swaths of time where you have a dad that's in the military or a dad that goes on business trips. My dad was almost always home or if he was on set, I was probably heading there if I wasn't there already."

He married three times: First to Elsie Ford, with whom he had Robert Jr. and Allyson, then to Laura Ernst from 1991 to her death in 1994, and finally to Rosemary Rogers in 1998.

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