Today is the fifty-fifth birthday of Robert Downey, Jr.. He was born in Manhattan on this day in 1955 to actors Elsie Ann and Robert Downey, Sr.. He started acting at the age of five, first appearing in his father's film Pound, eventually appearing in minor roles for a number of his father's films.
In 1985, he was cast as a main member of the weekly sketch comedy Saturday Night Life. However, the season was marred by terrible ratings and he only lasted a single season, eventually being considered the single worst cast member the show ever had. He then appeared in a number of prolific 1980s films such as Tuff Turf, Weird Science, and Back to School. He rose to prominence when he played famed filmmaker Charles Chaplin in the film Chaplin, for which he garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
During the 1990s, Downey became infamous for his widely publicized drug addiction. His father was a drug addict and he began using at a young age as a way to connect with him. He was arrested numerous times, going in and out of drug rehab. This time also marked a period where he appeared in several poorly received films. He was cast as the love interest of the titular character on Ally McBeal and despite winning several awards for the role was fired after another arrest. At one point, no company would insure him.
Eventually, he worked to sober up and has been dry since 2003. He then worked to rebuild his image in small independent features. His big break came in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. As his son was a fan of Family Guy, the creators made a character specifically for him after Downey contacted the staff. He also appeared in the hit crime drama film Zodiac along with Mark Ruffalo. In 2008, he appeared in the Marvel Studios film Iron Man and self-parody film Tropic Thunder. Both were enormous hits pushing Downey back into the public mindset. The latter film also earned him his second Academy Award nomination. Downey then became the central figure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He appeared as Iron Man/Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, The Consultant, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame while reprising the role for Black Widow and What If...?. He is tied with Mark Hamill for most awards for playing the same character, who won for playing Luke Skywalker. He is also the titular detective in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Most recently, he worked on a passion project for a remake of Doctor Dolittle, though it was a critical and financial disappointment.