Robert Downey Sr., who directed the 1969 advertising world satire Putney Swope and 1972’s utterly unique Greaser’s Palace and later appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and Magnolia, died Wednesday morning in his sleep at home in New York City. He was 85 years old. Following the news of his death, his son, Robert Downey Jr., shared a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.
“RIP Bob D. Sr. 1936-2021… Dad passed peacefully in his sleep after years of enduring the ravages of Parkinson’s.. he was a true maverick filmmaker, and remained remarkably optimistic throughout,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe star wrote. “According to my stepmoms calculations, they were happily married for just over 2000 years. Rosemary Rogers-Downey, you are a saint, and our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Downey’s ashes will scattered by the family at Rockaway Beach near Gildea’s pub where — he liked to say — he misspent his youth. 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.
Downey Sr. is survived by his wife, author Rosemary Rogers, who told the Daily News that her husband “was a New Yorker through and through from Greenwich Village to Queens to Chelsea to Waterside Plaza, where he spent the last 23 years of his life.”