Robert Downey Sr.
, the celebrated countercultural filmmaker, actor, and father of superstar Robert Downey Jr
., has died at the age of 85.
announced on Instagram
that his father, who had Parkinson's disease for more than five years, died in his sleep
at home in New York late Tuesday.
“He was a true maverick filmmaker who remained remarkably optimistic throughout,” Downey Jr. wrote, adding that “according to my stepmom’s calculations, they were happily married for just over 2000 years.”
Downey was a Hollywood
journeyman who made a name for himself with radical, anti-establishment films like the low-budget Madison
Avenue advertising industry satire "Putney Swope
" and the Western Jesus parable "Greaser's Palace," which starred Allan Arbus
, as well as his son, Robert Downey Jr., daughter Allyson Downey
, and first wife
He also appeared in movies
, portraying Thomas Bateman
in "To Live and Die in L.A.," the studio manager in "Boogie Nights
," and the show director in "Magnolia."
Born Robert Elias Jr. in New York City
in 1936, he later changed his surname to Downey — his stepfather's name — in order to enlist in the army early, and he fell into filmmaking by chance while living in New York with his sister.
"Rittenhouse Square," about a small Philadelphia
park, was his most recent film.
His wife, bestselling author Rosemary Rogers, survives the elder Downey as well.