Robert Downey Jr. lost his mother, Elsie Ann Downey, on Monday. The actor decided to pay tribute to her in a beautiful, honest Facebook post.
Downey Jr. revealed he wanted to share the intimate details of his mother’s life because a generic obituary would just not suffice.
The Avengers actor began by revealing how his mother had grown up in a small town and left home with big dreams of becoming a comedian. She arrived in New York and met his father, who proposed at a Yankees/Orioles game, but the happiness did not last as she struggled with alcoholism.
“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,” Downey Jr. wrote.
The Iron Man star is open about his past struggles with addiction, and he went on to explain it was his mother — who got sober herself in 1990 — that helped him to overcome his demons.
“While I strived to have the kind of success that eluded her, my own addiction repeatedly forbade it,” Downey Jr. 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.”
Sadly, in March, the actor’s mother suffered another cardiac arrest and was put on life support.
“Her wishes were to be left to die if there wasn’t a reasonable chance of recovery, which for some time there was. I returned from filming the Avengers sequel in June, went straight to see her,” he recalled. “To my amazement, she was completely lucid, interactive, mugging + pulling faces.”
However, after a few seizures, Downey Jr. brought his mom to a hospice, where she died last Monday.
“She was my role model as an actor, and as a woman who got sober and stayed that way. She was also reclusive, self-deprecating, a stoic Scotch-German rural Pennsylvanian, a ball buster, stubborn, and happy to hold a grudge,” Downey Jr. revealed.
“My ambition, tenacity, loyalty, ‘moods,’ grandiosity, occasional passive aggression, and my faith….That’s all her…and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If anyone out there has a mother, and she’s not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway….”