Robert Downey Jr. Pens Heartfelt Tribute to His Late Mother
"If anyone out there has a mother and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway"
Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to his mother, Elsie, in a stirring tribute chronicling her struggle to find success as an actor, battles with addiction and how she ultimately inspired him to get sober. She died Sept. 22 at 80.
In a Facebook post Friday, Downey praised the work she and his father, director Robert Downey Sr., did together, including 1975's Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight, which saw her play 17 characters. She often co-wrote with her then-husband and appeared in his films.
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"By the mid '70s, the downside of drug culture caught up with many artists. She was an alcoholic," Downey wrote. "As the marriage suffered, she continued to work but not for long. A recurring role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ('76-'77) was her last paying job … not that she cared, she'd have done it for free."
She eventually got clean and later inspired Downey to do the same.
"While I strived to have the kind of success that eluded her, my own addiction repeatedly forbade it," Downey wrote. "In the summer of 2004, I was in bad shape. She called me out of the blue, and I admitted everything. I don't remember what she said, but I haven't drank or used since."
Downey went on to talk about the final years of his mother's life, when she moved to Los Angeles to be with him and his family but was plagued by health problems.
"Many fond memories of her in the last few years … holidays, kid-stuff, her strutting around with a walking stick. I knew it was difficult and understood as the visits got shorter."
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Downey told people to cherish their mothers, flaws and all.
"If anyone out there has a mother and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway," he wrote.