The influence of Robert Downey Jr.’s father, Robert Downey Sr., on his career

Robert Downey Jr. is one of Hollywood’s most prominent actors, with an illustrious career spanning several decades. He has starred in numerous critically acclaimed films and has won several awards for his performances. However, few people know about the role his father, Robert Downey Sr., played in shaping his career.

Introduction to Robert Downey Sr.

Robert Downey Sr. was a well-known filmmaker and actor in his own right. He was born in New York City in 1936 and began his career as a filmmaker in the 1960s. He gained fame for his unique and avant-garde approach to filmmaking, which often tackled taboo subjects such as drug use, sexuality, and politics. His films were often low-budget and experimental, but they attracted a cult following and garnered critical acclaim.

Early Influence on Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. was born in 1965, and his father’s influence on his career began early on. He was exposed to the world of filmmaking from a young age, often accompanying his father on film sets and being immersed in the creative process. He has said that his father’s unique approach to filmmaking was a major influence on him and helped him develop his own artistic style.

In an interview with The Guardian, Robert Downey Jr. said, “I grew up on film sets with my dad, and I just thought everyone’s dad made movies.” He also credits his father with teaching him the importance of taking risks and pushing boundaries. “My dad always told me, ‘If you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly.’ That’s something that’s always stuck with me,” he said.

Robert Downey Sr.’s Films and Their Influence

Robert Downey Sr. directed several films that had a significant impact on his son’s career. One such film was “Putney Swope,” a satirical take on advertising agencies and race relations in America. The film was made in 1969 and was widely praised for its bold and innovative approach. It also helped establish Robert Downey Sr. as a filmmaker of note.

Robert Downey Jr. has cited “Putney Swope” as one of his favorite films and has said that it had a profound impact on him. “It’s a movie that speaks to me on so many levels,” he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a film that challenges the status quo and makes you think about the world in a different way. That’s what I’ve always tried to do with my own work.”

Another film that had a significant influence on Robert Downey Jr.’s career was “Greaser’s Palace.” The film, which was released in 1972, was a surreal Western that explored themes of spirituality and redemption. It was another example of Robert Downey Sr.’s unique approach to filmmaking and was widely praised for its creativity and originality.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Robert Downey Jr. spoke about the impact that “Greaser’s Palace” had on him. “It’s a movie that defies explanation,” he said. “It’s so bizarre and surreal, but it’s also deeply moving and spiritual. It’s a film that showed me that there are no limits to what you can do with cinema.”

Robert Downey Sr.’s Influence on Robert Downey Jr.’s Acting

Robert Downey Sr. was not only a filmmaker but also an actor, and his influence on his son’s acting career cannot be overstated. Robert Downey Jr. has said that he learned a lot from watching his father perform and that it helped him develop his own acting style.

In an interview with Esquire, Robert Downey Jr. said, “My dad was a fantastic actor, and I learned a lot from watching him.

He had a way of bringing authenticity to his roles, and that’s something that I’ve always strived for in my own work.”

Robert Downey Jr. has also spoken about the influence that his father had on his approach to improvisation. “My dad was all about improvisation and spontaneity,” he said. “He believed that the best moments in a film often came from actors just playing off each other and reacting in the moment. That’s something that I’ve taken with me throughout my career.”

Robert Downey Sr.’s Support During Difficult Times

Robert Downey Jr. has had his fair share of struggles throughout his career, including battles with addiction and legal troubles. During these difficult times, his father was a constant source of support and encouragement.

In a 2008 interview with Vanity Fair, Robert Downey Jr. spoke about the role that his father played in helping him through his struggles. “My dad was always there for me, no matter what,” he said. “He never judged me or made me feel like a failure. He just encouraged me to keep going and to believe in myself.”

Robert Downey Jr.’s Tribute to His Father

In 2021, Robert Downey Sr. passed away at the age of 85. In the wake of his father’s death, Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to him on social media, sharing a heartfelt message and several photos of them together.

In his tribute, Robert Downey Jr. wrote, “RIP Dad. You will always be my north star. Love you.” He also posted a photo of himself as a young boy on the set of one of his father’s films, showing the deep connection that they had.


In conclusion, Robert Downey Sr. had a significant influence on his son’s career, both as a filmmaker and an actor. He introduced Robert Downey Jr. to the world of filmmaking from a young age, instilling in him a passion for creativity and risk-taking. He also helped shape his son’s approach to acting, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and improvisation.

Throughout his career, Robert Downey Jr. has spoken openly about the impact that his father had on his life and career. He has credited him with teaching him the value of hard work and dedication, as well as the importance of following your passions.

In the wake of Robert Downey Sr.’s passing, it is clear that his influence on his son’s career will continue to be felt for years to come. Robert Downey Jr.’s success is a testament to his father’s legacy and the impact that he had on the world of filmmaking and beyond.

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