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His career has included critical and popular success in his youth, followed by a period of substance abuse and legal troubles, and a resurgence of commercial success in middle age.

After his last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey achieved sobriety. Downey was born in Manhattan, New York, 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.Despite Downey's lawyer, John Stewart Holden, assembling for his client's 1999 defense the same team of lawyers that successfully defended O. Simpson during his criminal trial for murder, Downey was sentenced to a three-year prison term at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, California (a.k.a. At the time of the 1999 arrest, all of Downey's film projects had wrapped and were close to release, with the exception of In Dreams, which he was allowed to complete filming.He had also been hired for voicing the devil on the NBC animated television series God, the Devil and Bob, but was fired when he failed to show up for rehearsals.He also appeared as a writer and singer on Vonda Shepard's Ally Mc Beal: For Once in My Life album, and he sang with Sting a duet of "Every Breath You Take" in an episode of the series.

Despite the apparent success, Downey claims that his performance on the series was overrated and said, "It was my lowest point in terms of addictions.

In April 2001, while he was on parole, a Los Angeles police officer found him wandering barefoot in Culver City, just outside Los Angeles.

He was arrested for suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, but was released a few hours later, After this last arrest, producer David E.

In 1997, he missed one of the court-ordered drug tests and had to spend six months in the Los Angeles County jail.

After Downey missed another required drug test in 1999, he was arrested once more.

He had a personal coach in order to help him imitate Chaplin's posture and way of carrying himself.