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After his last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey achieved sobriety. Downey was born in Manhattan, New York on April 4, 1965, the younger of two children.Downey Jr.'s career prospects improved when he featured in the black comedy crime Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), the mystery thriller Zodiac (2007), and the satirical action comedy Tropic Thunder (2008); for the latter he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His father, Robert Downey Sr., is an actor and filmmaker, while his mother, Elsie Ann (née Ford), was an actress who appeared in Downey Sr.'s films.
He received three years of probation and was ordered to undergo compulsory drug testing.
He was considered for the role of Duckie in John Hughes's film Pretty in Pink (1986), but his first lead role was with Molly Ringwald in The Pick-up Artist (1987).
Because of these and other coming-of-age films Downey did during the 1980s, he is sometimes named as a member of the Brat Pack.
When his parents divorced in 1978, Downey moved to California with his father, but in 1982, he dropped out of Santa Monica High School, and moved back to New York to pursue an acting career full-time.
Downey began building upon theater roles, including in the short-lived off-Broadway musical American Passion at the Joyce Theater in 1983, produced by Norman Lear.