Elsie Ann Downey died Monday night at the age of 80, and today her son actor Robert Downey, Jr. took to Facebook to pen a touching—and yet signaturely quirky—tribute to the woman to whom he owes so very much.
"As promotion for The Judge kicks off this weekend, I feel the need to run the risk of over sharing..." Downey's essay began as he delved into describing different stages of his mom's life, from her birth as Elsie Ann Ford near Pittsburgh in April 1934, through her short but turbulent marriage to Downy's father, filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., her unremarkable acting career and her struggle with addiction, and onto how she helped him battle his own demons when he was at his worst, how she bonded with her grandchildren and the health issues that weakened her in her final years.
"While I strived to have the kind of success that eluded her, my own addiction repeatedly forbade it," the Iron Man star 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. Eventually, when finances allowed, we were able to move her out to LA. She had a special affinity for my firstborn son Indio, and really got a kick out of Exton. Got an iPad, pictures, videos, the whole 9....
"Her doctors basically titled her a 'Medical Incredible,' said there was little they could do, and were frankly amazed she was up and walking.... 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."
Downey and wife Susan have a second child on the way, a girl due in November.
Downey wrote: "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. 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..."
DOWNEY, Elsie (Elsie Ann Ford)
Born: 4/11/1934, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died: 9/22/2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Elsie Downey’s western – actress:
Greaser’s Palace – 1972 (‘The Woman’)