[[quoteright:306:[[Film/IronMan1 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/robert-downey-jr-iron-man.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:306:[[MemeticMutation And he did all that in a cave!\\

->''"The truth is... I am Film/IronMan."''
-->-- '''Tony Stark'''

Robert John Downey, Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor, film producer and musician. Downey made his screen debut at the age of 5 when he appeared in one of his father's films, ''Film/{{Pound}}'' (1970), and has worked consistently in film and television ever since.

During the [[TheEighties 1980s]], he was a cast member on the NBC sketch show ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' (his uncle, Jim Downey, was a cast member on the show in the 1979-1980 season and, next to Rob Smigel[[note]]the voice of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog and the man behind the TV Funhouse cartoons that aired on the short-lived sketch series ''Series/TheDanaCarveyShow'', ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', and the short-lived SubvertedKidsShow, ''TV Funhouse''[[/note]] and Creator/LorneMichaels himself, is the longest-running writer this show has ever had. Downey has since left the show in 2013) and had roles in a series of coming-of-age films associated with the Creator/BratPack. He was cast to read one of the letters in the 1987 film ''Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam'' before his rise to fame. ''Film/LessThanZero'' is particularly notable, not only because it was the first time Downey's acting would be acknowledged by critics, but also because the role pushed Downey's already-existing drug habit one step further. After ''Zero'', Downey started landing roles in bigger films, such as ''Film/AirAmerica'' and ''Film/{{Soapdish}}''. These higher-profile roles eventually led to his being cast as Creator/CharlieChaplin in the 1992 {{biopic}} ''Film/{{Chaplin}}'', for which he gained an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward nomination for Best Actor.

Between 1996 and 2001, Downey was frequently arrested on drug-related charges and went through several drug treatment programs, but had difficulty staying sober. After being released from the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in 2000, Downey joined the cast of the hit television series ''Series/AllyMcBeal'', playing the new LoveInterest of Calista Flockhart's title character. His performance was praised and he was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a miniseries or TV film, but his character was written out when Downey was fired after two arrests in late 2000 and early 2001.

After one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey finally achieved lasting sobriety and his career began to take off again. He appeared in semi-independent films such as ''The Singing Detective'', ''Film/AScannerDarkly'' and ''Film/KissKissBangBang''. He also had supporting roles in the mainstream films ''Film/{{Gothika}}'', ''Film/GoodNightAndGoodLuck'' and ''Film/{{Zodiac}}''. In 2004, Downey released his debut studio album ''The Futurist'', although he was involved with music a little earlier; that's him walking around in the Music/EltonJohn video for "I Want Love."

In 2008, Downey became [[ComicBook/IronMan the title character]] in the ComicBook adaptation ''Film/IronMan1''. Somehow, playing a SuperHero with undeniable talent and a substance abuse problem seemed to be natural for him. His other 2008 films include ''CharlieBartlett'' and ''Film/TropicThunder'', directed by Creator/BenStiller, in which he played Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, who is overly engrossed in his role as an African-American soldier. He received his second Oscar nomination for the film, in the category of Best Supporting Actor, which he lost to Creator/HeathLedger (but not before being lauded by Creator/CubaGoodingJr as the only man crazy enough and good enough to play blackface).

He next played the lead character in Creator/GuyRitchie's adaptation of ''Film/SherlockHolmes'', which opened on Christmas 2009. It is a ''very'' different take on the character but surprisingly faithful to the original books, and it was a hit and a Golden Globe winning role for Downey.

In 2010, Downey appeared in ''Film/IronMan2'', another huge hit, and the comedy {{Road|TripPlot}} Movie ''Film/DueDate'' along with Zach Galifianakis. He reprised the role of Sherlock Holmes in 2011's ''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows''. In 2012, he appeared as Iron Man in the highly successful ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', and then again in 2013 for ''Film/IronMan3'' and again in 2015 for ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''.

Oh, and he's now the voice for Mr. Peanut.


* ActorAllusion: Since beating his drug problems for good, he tends to play characters who struggle with substance abuse, particularly alcoholics.
* CareerResurrection: Downey's turns in critically lauded films such as ''Film/KissKissBangBang'', ''Film/AScannerDarkly'', and ''Film/{{Zodiac}}'' returned him to the realm of respected actor, but his appearance in ''Film/IronMan1'' cemented him as an A-lister. Prior to this, he was practically unemployable as his drug problems made him very difficult to insure.
* TheCastShowoff: Downey writes music, sings and plays the piano quite well. As a result, this leads to some delightful showoff moments, including:
** Downey performed his own compositions in the movies ''Friends and Lovers'' and ''Two Girls and a Guy.''
** The song played during the ending credits of ''Film/KissKissBangBang'' is a Downey original from his 2004 music album ''The Futurist''.
** Downey's acclaimed musical performances on ''Series/AllyMcBeal'' include a version of Joni Mitchell's song "River" and a duet version of the song "Every Breath You Take" with Sting.
* CelebrityParadox: Nobody is sure if he is actually Robert Downey Jr. or if he is, in fact, Tony Stark. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-H8gdxSK34 Not even him]].
* HarpoDoesSomethingFunny: A noted ad-libber, Downey was vital in making the largely unscripted ''Film/IronMan1'' as funny as it was. Tony Stark's "shawarma" line in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' was also the result of a sequence of ad-libs. Also notable is that though Creator/JossWhedon is the one who came up with Tony's quip to Thor about "Shakespeare in the Park," Downey is the one who decided to start taunting Thor about "weareth(ing his mother's) drapes."
* MetaCasting: Downey practically ''is'' Tony Stark, and really most of his later roles have been about talented men dealing with substance abuse problems.
* MoneyDearBoy: He admitted he's probably not going back to his indie roots anytime soon, because most of what he's participated in was poorly-promoted, mediocre, and inexperienced.
* OneOfUs:
** Of the "[[PortmanteauCoupleName Stony shippers]]", in any case: After ''The Avengers'', he has repeatedly claimed that Steve and Tony got married (Steve ''might'' have worn a dress, Clint caught the bouquet and Natasha thinks they're adorable). Then again, it's probably easier to name the slash ships involving his characters he ''hasn't'' [[ShipTease teased]] in some way ("Mark Ruffalo and I are adopting a child. [[Film/TheAvengers2012 Tony Banner]]"). And let's not even get started on the ''Film/SherlockHolmes'' press tours. Add to this, he entered an ''Film/IronMan3'' presentation at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con by dancing through the fans, wearing an Iron Man gauntlet on his right hand.
** He has also been declared Captain of the Pepperony ship. He fought for Creator/GwynethPaltrow to have a role in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', several quotes from him regarding ''Film/IronMan3'' are about Pepper and Tony's relationship, and when asked what he would have of Tony's if he could get it, he answered: "Pepper Potts".
** And now he and Creator/GwynethPaltrow call themselves "Pepperony". The fan reactions on tumblr ranged from "THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED" to "WAIT HOW MUCH DO THEY KNOW?!"
** He knows about "Captain Dorito,"[[note]]A meme referring to Captain America actor Chris Evans' shoulder-to-waist ratio.[[/note]] even referring to Creator/ChrisEvans as "Dorito" at Comic-Con 2014.
** His official Facebook page is full of fan-made art, memes, Tumblr posts, etc. related to him or his work.
* PrettyBoy: Had boyish looks in his early days. Later in his career, he's gotten to be a {{Hunk}}.
* PromotedFanboy: He's a fan of the ''Iron Man'' series.
* RomanceOnTheSet: Met his current wife, producer Susan Levin, while making ''Film/{{Gothika}}''.
* ScullyBox: He's just 5' 8'' (1,70 m), so his superhero movies at times require him to wear high heels (as even [[Creator/GwynethPaltrow his love interest co-star]] [[http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/images/celebritology/08/gwyn_morph.jpg can tower over him]] -- [[http://images.starpulse.com/pictures/2010/04/28/previews/Gwyneth%20Paltrow%20and%20Robert%20Downey%20Jr.-DGG-024893.jpg though when both have proper shoes...]]).
* SoMyKidsCanWatch: Downey's teenage son is a fan of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', so he called the show's production staff and asked if he could be involved in making an episode. The result of that was Downey guest-starring on the episode in which Peter starts a pro-obese men advocacy group and Lois finds out that she has a long-lost brother who was put in a mental hospital [[spoiler:after seeing his mom giving a blowjob to Jackie Gleason, which triggered Patrick's murderous hatred for fat men]].
* ThrowItIn: '''Endlessly.''' Examples from ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'':
** As Creator/JossWhedon noted, the "That man is playing ''Galaga''!" line was ad-libbed, and worked so well that Whedon decided to dub in an image of ''VideoGame/{{Galaga}}'' on "that man's" console as the scene's punch line.
** Reportedly, Tony's "Let's just not come in tomorrow" speech was improvised, as was Tony taunting Thor with the line [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe "Doth mother know thou weareth her drapes?"]]
** The shawarma gag was also his, so by proxy he threw in the entire second stinger.
** The scene with Tony eating blueberries wasn't scripted; RDJ had a habit of squirreling food away around the set, and was hungry when they were filming the scene.
* TypeCasting: Oddly, Downey playing brilliant and dedicated yet deeply flawed heroes with a history of substance abuse ([[Film/IronMan alcohol]], [[Film/SherlockHolmes cocaine]]) is what revived his career.