Robert Downey Jr Birthday: Fascinating Facts About Iron Man

The actor who made Iron Man aka entrepreneur and businessman Tony Stark a household name after the movie's blockbuster success, Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) celebrates his birthday today.

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The actor who made Iron Man a household name after the movie's blockbuster success, Robert John Downey Jr. (born April 4, 1965) celebrates his birthday today. With a career that has involved multiple critical and mass performances, his life has been chequered with substance abuse and legal issues, but just like the billionaire Tony Stark he plays on screen, Downey has come back stronger than before. Named by Time Magazine as among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008, he was also listed by Forbes from 2013-2015 as Hollywood's highest-paid actor. Although recognized nowadays more for his role in the Iron Man series, Downey has portrayed path breaking roles in films such as Chaplin in 1992, where he played the role of comic actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.

Gage Skidmore
Robert Downey, Jr. speaking at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con International.

Released globally in 2008, Iron Man grossed over $585 million worldwide and was appreciated especially for Downey's portrayal of Tony Stark, the playboy, entrepreneur and billionaire who becomes Iron Man.

On Downey's birthday, here are some fascinating facts about Tony Stark, who he has portrayed in the sequels and The Avengers series.

1. Iron Man made his first appearance in March 1963 in the comic titled Tales Of Suspense. It was five years later in May 1968 that he got his own title in the first issue of the Iron Man comic book.

2. Initially Iron Man was used by creator Stan Lee to look into Cold War themes, and the role of American technology in the battle against communism.

3. As a standalone hero, Marvel at the time wasn't too sure about the potential of the millionaire who becomes a superhero.

4. There are over 50 versions of the Iron Man suit, which come in different colours for specific situations.

5. Area 51, known as a US government owned centre where aliens and UFOs are studied, was bought by Tony Stark in the Marvel universe. Quite an achievement!

6. The four main villains of Iron Man are Mandarin, Crimson Dynamo, Iron Monger and Justin Hammer. Some of the others are Doctor Doom, Firepower, Whirlwind and Titanium Man.

7. The character of Iron Man was based on the real life millionaire Howard Hughes.

8. Tony Stark aka Iron Man is the fourth richest character in the fictional universe. Who was number one you ask? Well, Disney's Scrooge Duck ofcourse!

9. Although you can't imagine anyone else apart from Downey playing Toney Stark, initially the role had been offered to Tom Cruise, who refused as he wasn't pleased with the script. In the late 90s Nicolas Cage had also expressed interest to play Iron Man.