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Happy birthday Robert Downey Jr! 13 roles that make him his generation’s biggest star

Robert Downey Jr, the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist who is equally at ease playing superheroes (Iron Man) and fast talking schemers, turned 52 on Tuesday. Here’s a look at the roles that made him one of the biggest stars of his generation.

hollywood Updated: Apr 04, 2017 15:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Robert Downey Jr,Robert Downey Jr Movies,Robert Downey Jr Birthday
Join us in paying tribute to Robert Downey Jr as he turns 52.

Robert Downey Jr turned 52 on Tuesday. The actor, popular for playing genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark (Iron Man) in the Marvel movies is a rare kind of movie star. Not only has he found a new lease to his career (after battling addiction for most of the ‘90s and early 2000s) he has gone on to star in not one, but two major franchises (Sherlock Holmes), with a third on the way (Dr Doolittle).

Outside the movies, Downey has taken on the persona of Stark in real life as well, posting snarky, witty jokes on his social media accounts (which attract millions of followers).

But before this phase 2 in his career, Downey Jr has a closet full of memorable roles, ever since he made his debut as a child in 1970.

Let’s take a walk down the rocky, winding memory lane that is Robert Downey Jr’s career, with stills from his most notable roles.

Weird Science (1985): Directed by John Hughes, this was Downey Jr’s (third from left) first major movie role. In it, two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that. ( IMDb )
Back to School (1986): To help his discouraged son get through college, a fun loving and obnoxious rich businessman decides to enter the school as a student himself. ( IMDb )
Johnny Be Good (1988): It’s recruiting time and despite being short and scrawny, Johnny Walker is America’s hottest young football prospect. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local state college with his girlfriend and give up his football career? ( IMDb )
Chaplin (1993): A film about the troubled and controversial life of the master comedy filmmaker Charles Chaplin. Downey Jr received an Oscar nomination for his performance. ( IMDb )
The Singing Detective (2003): From his hospital bed, a writer suffering from a skin disease hallucinates musical numbers and paranoid plots. ( IMDb )
Gothika (2003): A repressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done. ( IMDb )
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005): A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor (Downey Jr, of course). ( IMDb )
Zodiac (2007): Downey Jr played journalist Paul Avery in David Fincher’s film about an unsolved mystery about a serial killer who operated in the San Francisco area in the 1970s. ( IMDb )
Iron Man (2008): It was not easy for director Jon Favreau to convince Marvel to hire Downey Jr for the role of Tony Stark (given his dark past), but he was adamant. And the rest, as they say, is history. He would go on to play the character in two more solo sequels, two Avengers films, a Captain America movie, and the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. ( IMDb )
Tropic Thunder (2008): Downey Jr earned another Oscar nomination for his performance as a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude in the satirical comedy. ( IMDb )
Sherlock Holmes (2009): Downey Jr was acclaimed in director Guy Ritchie’s action-heavy reinvention of the famed fictional detective. He would go on to play the character in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. ( IMDb )
Captain America: Civil War (2016): Downey Jr’s latest film, a lead-up to 2018’s third Avengers movie. ( IMDb )
As a parting bonus, here’s a still from Downey Jr’s first ever screen appearance, in 1970’s Pound, directed by his dad Robert Downey Sr. He was credited as Bob Downey. ( YouTube )

First Published: Apr 04, 2017 15:41 IST