Underground filmmaker known for writing and directing the films Hugo Pool, Putney Swope, and Greaser's Palace. He is also the father of actor Robert Downey Jr.
He directed his first short film, Balls Bluff, in 1961.
In 2005, he released a documentary about life on the streets of Philadelphia called Rittenhouse Square.
He married Rosemary Rogers, his third wife, in 1998. He previously had two children, Robert Jr. and Allyson, with his first wife Elsie Downey.
His 1973 film Sticks and Bones starred Tom Aldredge.