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ROBERT DOWNEY. JR. (John Royce) won widespread acclaim, an Academy Award nomination and the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for his uncanny personification of the great silent screen comedian Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough's "Chaplin."

The son of maverick filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr., Downey, Jr. was born in New York City, where he lived in Greenwich Village before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager. He attended Santa Monica High School, then moved back east to pursue acting in Off­Broadway plays and regional theater.

As a youngster, he made his film debut playing a canine in his father's controversial 1970 absurdist satire, "Pound." He appeared in "Greaser's Palace," also under his father's direction, in 1972, then returned to the big screen a decade later in John Sayles' critically­acclaimed comedy, "Baby, It's You." In between film assignments, he served as a cast regular on "Saturday Night Live" during the 1985­86 season.

Celebrated for the vigor and emotional depth with which he imbues his characters, Downey, Jr. has won accolades for such roles as the flamboyant Julian Wells in "Less Than Zero," the gay sibling who shares an unconventional Thanksgiving family reunion in Jodie Foster's "Home for the Holidays" and the sardonic talk­show host Wayne Gale in Oliver Stone's blistering satire, "Natural Born Killers."

Downey, Jr. also starred in the recent film version of "Richard III" and includes among his film credits "First Born," "Weird Science," "Back to School," "The Pick­Up Artist," "True Believer," "1969," "Chances Are," "Air America," "Soapdish," "Heart and Souls," "Only You," the Oscar­winning costume epic "Restoration," "The Last Party," Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" and "Too Much Sun," again working with his father.

He recently reunited with Downey, Sr. in "Hugo Pool," and also starred in James Toback's "Two Girls and a Guy" and, opposite Wesley Snipes in Mike Figgis' film, "One Night Stand." He will next be seen in Robert Altman's "The Gingerbread Man," followed by a starring role as a serial killer in Neil Jordan's "In Dreams."

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