Robert John Downey, Jr. (born April 4, 1965) is an American actor whose career has included critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, and a resurgence of commercial success in middle age.
Making his screen debut at the age of five, appearing in his father Robert Downey, Sr.'s film Pound (1970), he appeared in roles associated with the Brat Pack, such as the teen sci-fi comedy Weird Science (1985) and the drama Less Than Zero (1987). Other films he has starred in include the action comedy Air America (1990), the comedy Soapdish (1991), and the crime film Natural Born Killers (1994). He starred as Charlie Chaplin, the title character in the 1992 film Chaplin, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
After being released in 2000 from the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison where he was on drug charges, Downey joined the cast of the TV series Ally McBeal playing Calista Flockhart's love interest. His performance was praised and he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. His character was written out when Downey was fired after two drug arrests in late 2000 and early 2001. After one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey finally achieved sobriety.
His more recent films include the musical comedy crime film The Singing Detective (2003), the supernatural horror film Gothika (2003), the crime comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), the animated science fiction thriller A Scanner Darkly (2006), the mystery thriller Zodiac (2007), and the satirical action comedy Tropic Thunder (2008), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Beginning in 2008, Downey has portrayed the role of Marvel Comics superhero Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in several films as either the lead role, member of an ensemble cast, or in a cameo. He played the title character in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its sequel (2011).
Downey has starred in several movies that have each grossed over $500 million at the box office worldwide. Two of those films, The Avengers and Iron Man 3, each earned over $1 billion. Downey tops the Forbes list of Hollywood's highest-paid actors with an estimated $75 million in earnings between June 2012 and June 2013.