Robert Downey Sr., ‘Putney Swope’ filmmaker, dead at 85

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Director Robert Downey Sr. and actor Robert Downey Jr. attend Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World gala. Credit: L. BUSACCA via CBS News.

Robert Downey Sr., the acclaimed filmmaker, actor, and father of Robert Downey Jr., died Wednesday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, his son announced on Instagram. He was 85.

“Last night, dad passed peacefully in his sleep after years of enduring the ravages of Parkinson’s,” Downey Jr. wrote. “He was a true maverick filmmaker, and remained remarkably optimistic throughout.”

Born in 1936, Downey Sr. made his mark on the American film industry. He is best known for his film “Putney Swope,” a satirical take on New York City’s advertising industry. During his career, he directed 18 productions, including three episodes of the hit television series “The Twilight Zone,” according to his IMDB profile.

In 2016, “Putney Swope” was chosen by the Library of Congress to be included in the United States National Film Registry. Films are selected for the registry for their cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance.

Downey Sr. leaves behind his wife, Rosemary Rogers-Downey, and his children, Allyson and Robert, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Downey Jr. mentioned Rosemary in his tribute post to his father, writing, “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 Jr. is most well known for following in his father’s footsteps as an actor, including his role as Iron Man in the Avengers franchise.

In a 2016 interview with the Village Voice, Downey Sr. recalled how his son invited him to a Time 100 event as his mentor.

“Iron Man was just out,’ Downey Sr. explains. “He says, “Can you believe what happened to me?” The movie’s made 200 million dollars, and I’m the only convicted felon in this room.” I whisper to him, “No, you’re not.” The room is full of bankers and politicians. He says, “Do you have anything to say?” I say, “Yeah, I’m not your father.” That got a big laugh. He loved it.”

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