Robert Downey Sr., actor and filmmaker dad of Robert Jr., dead at 85

Robert Downey Sr., the filmmaker and actor father of Robert Downey Jr., has died. He was 85.

Downey Sr. died in his sleep, his wife said, at his New York City home on Wednesday, according to The Sun. He celebrated his 85th birthday last month.

Best known for his acting appearances in movies “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “To Live and Die in LA,” Downey Sr. had been battling Parkinson’s disease for more than five years.

The father of stars Robert Downey Jr. and Allyson Downey, the director, writer and producer largely stayed away from press, mostly to protect his famous kids. But in 2001 when his Oscar-nominated son was facing cocaine charges, Downey Sr. spoke to The Post at length about the difficulties being in Hollywood.

Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Downey Sr. in 2008.
Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Downey Sr. in 2008.
Dave Allocca/startraksphoto.com

“Life is too easy when you’re a movie star. People will do anything you want and get you anything you want,” he told The Post. “Hollywood is a horrible place.”

Born in New York, Downey Sr. served in the army, played minor-league baseball, was a Golden Gloves boxing champ and a playwright for off-off Broadway productions before the age of 22, according to IMDB.

Robert Downey Sr. speaks onstage during The 25th American Cinematheque Award Honoring Robert Downey Jr. held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on October 14, 2011.
Robert Downey Sr. speaks onstage during The 25th American Cinematheque Award Honoring Robert Downey Jr. held at The Beverly Hilton hotel on October 14, 2011.
John Shearer/WireImage

By the 1960s, he pivoted to film, writing and directing classics like “Balls Bluff” (1961), “Babo 73” (1964), “Chafed Elbows” (1966), “No More Excuses” (1968) and “Putney Swope” (1969).

After the cult success of the satirical “Putney Swope,” he hit bottom when his career foundered in the 1970s.

Robert Downey Sr. (second from right) during the 2012 Atlantic City Cinefest at Showboat Atlantic City on October 12, 2012.
Robert Downey Sr. (center) during the 2012 Atlantic City Cinefest at Showboat Atlantic City on October 12, 2012.
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

“Ten years of cocaine around the clock,” he told The Post in 2001. “I didn’t beat it until ’81, until my late wife gave me an ultimatum. I officially quit in front of my son. He keeps reminding me about it. I tell him, ‘If it made such an impression on you, then why can’t you do the same thing?’”

The most recent film he worked on was 2011’s “Tower Heist,” which also starred Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck. As director, his final projects were 1997’s “Hugo Pool” and the 2005 documentary “Rittenhouse Square.”

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