Iron Man Star Robert Downey Jr Thanks This American TV Legend for Saving His Family from Going Penniless When His Dad Was Out of Money

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Whenever the conversation turns to Robert Downey Jr. it is hard not to bring up his accolades, his achievements, and on a more serious note, his tragic past. Ever since the star made the character of Tony Stark iconic in 2008’s Iron Man, he has not stopped climbing the stairs of success, both financially and professionally. But with all this recognition, people also learn about everything that has happened in their life that brought them where they are.

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.

As most of the fandom and the industry knows, RDJ might’ve been born to well-off parents, but his life wasn’t always a scenic view from an ivory tower. In fact, you could say his past was so tragic that it was a miracle how he turned it all around as he did. In those tough times, when there was nothing even close to a penny to his father’s name, there was a guardian angel that saved him and his family from going through bankruptcy.

Robert Downey Jr. Is Forever Grateful To TV Legend Norman Lear For Helping His Father’s Career

Director Robert Downey Sr. and actor Robert Downey Jr.

When it comes to the rise of the underdog, Robert Downey Jr. takes a traditional approach to the story and extends it with the rise, the fall, and the rise again. But going back to the time of his younger days, there was an instance when the Downey family was seriously strapped for cash, and RDJ’s father couldn’t make the money to provide for his family. That’s when TV legend Norman Lear saw Downey Sr. and his talent and decided to help him out.


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During the reception of the newly released Netflix documentary Sr., Norman Lear revealed that he had just found out about this budding experimental director, who had also written and directed a counterculture satire of the advertising world, “Putney Swope” in 1969. He saw his potential as a director and decided to stretch his hand out and offer him the job of his assistant. This was a very crucial moment in his life as it was earlier stated that he was slowly creeping toward financial default, and this kind gesture meant a lot to him and his family.

The project that Robert Downey Sr. was asked to assist in was a film named Cold Turkey, which starred Dick Van Dyke in a comedy satire about the tobacco industry of the 60s and 70s. As Downey Sr. had already made a satire with Putney Swope, Lear figured out that he was the best candidate for it to assist him in making the project a success. During the Bar Reception, Lear said:


“In 1971 I was making a film called ‘Cold Turkey,’ and I called Bob [Downey, Sr.]  and said ‘Would you like to come out to Iowa and be an assistant?’”

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What Is Sr.?

A scene from Netflix's Sr.
A scene from Netflix’s Sr.

The name of the Netflix documentary is the namesake of RDJ’s Late. father Robert Downey Sr., and the film was made in honor of the life that he lived with his family, especially his son. The movie shows all the ups, the downs, and everything in between that happened with the both of them. the film also shows how the substance abuse and alcohol addiction of Downey Sr. severely affected RDJ and how both of them made amends with each other in the end.

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Sr., now streaming on Netflix

Source: Page Six


Written by Deepak Bisht

Articles Published: 1394

Deepak Bisht is a writer at FandomWire who has vast expertise in films of many genres, a hardcore anime nerd along with two years of writing experience. After completing his Bachelor's in Business Administration, he became part of the company in hopes of providing accurate, informative, and exciting articles to the world.

Apart from his contributions to FandomWire, the rest of his time is spent either reading quality works of literature, listening to vintage music, or playing any video games he can get his hands on.