Candid and beautiful. Robert Downey Jr. penned a heartfelt tribute to his late mother Elsie on his official Facebook page on Friday, Sept. 27. Elsie, daughter of an engineer and jewelry shop owner, died at the age of 80 on Monday, Sept. 22.
The Judge actor, 49, recalled how his father Robert proposed to his mother during a New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles game in the '60s. Elsie always dreamed of becoming a comedienne, but later struggled with alcoholism. She went to treatment and got sober in the '90s, and dealt afterwards with several decades of heart disease.
"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."
Downey Jr. has famously dealt with his own addictions and has spent time behind bars. His 20-year-old son Indio was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia last month.
The actor and his mom both overcame their demons, but Elsie hit a rough patch once again when she suffered cardiac arrest and was put on life support in March.
"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."
After a few seizures, Downey Jr. — who is expecting his second child with wife Susan — brought his mom home for hospice. She died at 11 p.m. this 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. continued.
"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," he added. "If anyone out there has a mother, and she's not perfect, please call her and say you love her anyway."
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