10 Things We Can Learn from Robert Downey, Jr.

10 Things We Can Learn from Robert Downey, Jr.

Lauren PesinMonday,4 May 2015

Being a huge Marvel fan (needle buried deeply past 10 on the nerdometer), I, of course, went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening day. Among the kids, nerds, families, and other Marvel fans (some defy categorization… I’m looking at you in the Captain America costume holding a homemade shield two rows up), I took in all the glitz and glamour of the big budget film. I appreciated the star powered spectacle filled with Stark Tech, gamma irradiated, Asgardian muscled eye candy and enough crap blowing up to make Michael Bay weep tears of joy (or tears about how much the last Transformers movie sucked… but I digress). Some details may be lost, but the humor and the importance of the Avenger’s camaraderie and relationships were captured.

In addition to the normal glee I feel towards massive explosions, save the world, laugh a lot superhero movies, I found myself thinking about Robert Downey, Jr. and his alter ego, Tony Stark. I couldn’t help but remember him in the 1987 movie, Less Than Zero, where he played a heroin-addicted prostitute (fun times). Then I remembered the crazy photos and myriad stories about him being addicted to cocaine, arrested, escaping rehabs, and serving prison time somewhere between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s. His addiction was public. His notable talent as an actor was being wasted.

Then, in 2008 a flawless portrayal of Tony Stark emerged. Robert Downey Jr. appeared to have been given a chance to recapture and keep the glory of stardom. He took it and never looked back.

His story on the surface may not seem much different from the trials of Lindsey Lohan, Anna Nicole Smith, River Phoenix, Drew Barrymore (you go girl!) or Heath Ledger and yet somehow he has made an amazing come back — from addicted prisoner to the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Why? Why Robert Downey Jr.? Why Tony Stark?

I know that most of us will never be featured in a film, nor do I think that most of us will ever experience his level of messed up; however, I do think there are things we can learn from Robert Downey Jr. (and Tony Stark):

1. If you have talent that makes people money (such as acting, singing, or athletic ability), someone will always give you a second (3rd, 4th, or 100th) chance. You just have to live long enough for the right chance to come along (unless its dog fighting, then you’re just a d-bag).

2. You don’t have to be the biggest, buffest, or best looking to get the girl (though looking like Chris Hemsworth won’t hurt one damn bit). Screen presence sells movies and a great smile can make you friends.

3. Being charming and funny may be all you need to get rich.

4. Arrogance can be attractive.

5. Even the rich and famous care about losing their toys.

6. You can’t possibly own enough sunglasses.

7. Even the privileged are F’d up.

8. It’s never a good idea to keep a loaded gun and cocaine in your car (even if it’s parked).

9. People can overcome addiction.

10. Prison does change a man.

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Image Credit: Flickr



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