Robert Downey Sr. has died in his sleep at 85 after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was a respected actor, director and writer and paved the way for his son’s entry into the movie business

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Robert Downey Sr. has died in his sleep at 85 after a battle with Parkinson's disease.

The Iron Man star's dad, who shared his name, passed away on Wednesday morning at his home in New York after a five-year battle with ill health.

His wife, Rosemary Rogers, confirmed the sad news to the New York Daily News.

Downey, Snr was also part of the entertainment industry – he was an actor, writer and producer who appeared in films such as Boogie Nights and To Live and Die in LA.

HIs last movie appearance was in 2011's Tower Heist and he was last seen on TV back in 2015 when he made an uncredited appearance on US sketch show Saturday Night Live.

Robert Downey Sr. and Robert Downey Jr pictrued together back in 2014

He was born in New York City in 1936 as Robert Elias, Jr. and later changed his last name to that of his stepfather, James Downey.

After going into the entertainment industry, he worked on a series of independent films in the 1960s.

Downey, Snr was writing and directing his projects including 1961 short Ball's Bluff before his bigger budget offering Greaser's Palace in 1972.

He continued working in the industry for years and his last film was a documentary called Rittenhouse Square in 2005 about life in a park in Philadelphia park.

Robert Downey Sr. was a respected actor and filmmaker

Downey, Sr. was married three times – first to Elsie Ann Ford in 1962 before they divorced in 1962.

She appeared in four of his movies also co-wrote Moment to Moment with him.

They were parents to two children, Allyson and son Robert Jr., and the children were given an early entry into showbiz when their dad cast them in his 1970 film Pound.

Allyson was just seven and Robert was five.

Robert Downey Sr at the premiere of his son's film The Avengers in 2012

Budding actor Robert appeared in seven more of his dad's films, including Greaser's Palace alongside his mum.

Father and son also shared the screen together in two films, Johnny Be Good and Hail Caesar.

After their divorce, Downey, Sr went on to marry actress and writer Laura Ernst, who died in 1994 after a battle with motor neurone disease.

He married his third wife, author Rosemary Rogers in 1998.