The son of cult favorite movie director Robert Downey Sr., boyishly handsome and devilishly charming Hollywood-bad-boy-turned-pop-culture-icon Robert Downey Jr. made his film debut as a puppy in his father’s surreal 1970 comedy Pound. In 1985, Robert spent a year as part of the critically panned and quickly replaced “hip young cast” of Saturday Night Live. But he had more success in the movies, appearing with fellow “Brat Pack” members James Spader and Anthony Michael Hall in Tuff Turf (1985) and Weird Science (1985), respectively. It’s enough to make you go Oingo Boingo all over yourself.
His first leading role came as Molly Ringwald’s love interest in 1987’s The Pickup Artist, but it was his all-too-realistic performance as hard-partying sex maniac on a cocaine-fueled binge of self-destruction in Less Than Zero that made him a star. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the biopic Chaplin in 1992, but lost.
After years of drug addiction, jails, and rehabs, Robert finally cleaned himself up and got his career on track. In 2008, he was back on top, starring in two big-budget blockbusters, the action comedy Tropic Thunder and the comic book movie Iron Man. And in 2009, he landed another huge role when he played the eponymous sleuth in Sherlock Holmes. We’ll be your Dr. Watson, Sherlock!