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Robert Downey, Sr.
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    (June 24, 1935- )
    Born in New York City, New York
    Birth name was Robert Elias, Jr.
    Director, writer, and actor
    Directed and wrote ‘Chafed Elbows’ (1966), ‘Putney Swope’ (1969), ‘Pound’ (1970), ‘Greaser’s Palace’ (1972), ‘Too Much Sun’ (1991) and ‘Hugo Pool’ (1997)
    Directed ‘Sticks and Bones’ (TV movie; 1973) and ‘Up The Academy’ (1980)
    Co-wrote ‘The Gong Show Movie’ (1980)
    Acted in the films ‘You’ve Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You’ll Lose That Beat’ (1971), ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ (1985), ‘Johnny Be Good’ (1988), ‘Boogie Nights’ (1997), ‘Magnolia’ (1999) and ‘The Tower Heist’ (2011)
    Father of actor Robert Downey, Jr.
    He said about growing up, ‘It was like a bad version of ‘The Catcher In The Rye’…. I got booted out of three prep schools and never got past the ninth-and-a-half grade.’
    He received a bad conduct discharge from the Army.
    ’The Saturday Review’ declared that he ‘seems to have absolutely everything it takes to be a successful movie director except talent.’
    He directed 'Up the Academy,' which turned out so bad that 'Mad' magazine paid $30,000 to have all references to itself removed from the version released on video.
    Explaining a large gap in his filmography, he noted, ‘In the 70s, I was a mess… a lot of coke and pot.’
    Robert Jr. claimed that his father introduced him to marijuana when he was eight years old.
    He played semi-pro baseball and was a Golden Gloves boxer.
    He started as an underground director of ultra-low budget films.
    He said the biggest influences on him as a director are Federico Fellini and Preston Sturges.
    Martin Scorsese funded the restoration of three of his early films.
    His satire of Madison Avenue and race relations, ‘Putney Swope,’ was named one of the ten best movies of the year by ‘Time’ and became a cult classic.
    He directed Robert Jr. in eight films and said, ‘It’s always fun to work with my son on any project.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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