New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – Robert Downey Sr, iconic filmmaker of breakthrough anti-establishment classic films such as “Putney Swope” and “Greaser’s Palace,” died early Wednesday morning in his sleep at his home in New York City, his wife told the Daily News exclusively.
Downey, who turned 85 last month and had been battling Parkinson’s disease, also appeared in the movies “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” and “To Live And Die in LA.”
The filmmaker, actor, producer and writer was a life-long New Yorker and the husband of bestselling author Rosemary Rogers and father of actor Robert Downey Jr.
Rogers was at home with Downey Sr when he died. He succumbed after suffering from Parkinson’s for more five years.
“Last night, dad passed peacefully in his sleep after years of enduring the ravages of Parkinson’s,” Downey Jr wrote Wednesday in an Instagram tribute.
“He was a true maverick filmmaker, and remained remarkably optimistic throughout..According to my stepmoms calculations, they were happily married for just over 2000 years,” the “Iron Man” actor continued. “Rosemary Rogers-Downey, you are a saint, and our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Downey Sr. achieved early success during a career that spanned more than five decades as a writer and director of independent films that offered commentary on the era and contributed to the counterculture movement.
After garnering attention for works such as 1961′s “Balls Bluff” and 1964′s “Babo 73,” Downey’s profile ascended with the 1969 release of “Putney Swope,” a satirical take on the advertising industry of New York City.
“Putney Swope” proved to be a revelation with enduring impact, as the Library of Congress chose the movie for its National Film Registry in 2016.
Three years later, Downey came out with “Greaser’s Palace,” a Western about a man capable of creating miracles such as bringing back the dead or helping sick people recover.
Downey Jr appeared in 1972′s “Greaser’s Palace” as a child, as did Downey Sr.’s other child, daughter Allyson, and his first wife, Elsie Downey.
He married Elsie in 1962 and had his only two children with her before their divorce in 1982. Downey married his second wife, Laura Ernst, in 1991, and remained with her until her death three years later.
Downey and Rogers married in 1998.
Downey continued to work into his later years, writing and directing the 1997 romantic comedy “Hugo Pool,” which starred Alyssa Milano and Patrick Dempsey, as well as his son.
His final directorial work came in 2005 with the documentary “Rittenhouse Square.”
- Top Feature Photo: Filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr poses for photos during ‘An Evening With Robert Downey, Sr’ at Film Forum on May 20, 2016 in New York City – Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images