Robert Downey, Jr.

by ethnic on December 26, 2007

67th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room

Birth Name: Robert John Downey, Jr.

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: April 4, 1965

*37.5% Ashkenazi Jewish
*25% English and Scottish
*25% German and Swiss-German
*12.5% Irish

Robert Downey, Jr. is an American actor, musician, and producer. He starred in many Hollywood movies throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently in Good Night, and Good Luck., Zodiac, Tropic Thunder, and as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Robert is the son of actress Elsie Ann (Ford) and director/writer/actor Robert Downey, Sr. His sister is actress Allyson Downey.

Robert’s father is of half Lithuanian Jewish, one quarter Irish, and one quarter Hungarian Jewish, ancestry. Robert’s mother had Scottish, English, German, and Swiss-German ancestry. Robert’s father was born with the surname “Elias”, and later changed his surname to “Downey”, after his own stepfather. Robert is married to producer Susan Levin Downey. The two married in a Jewish ceremony (Susan is Jewish).

Robert’s paternal grandfather was Robert Elias (the son of Yosef/Joseph W. Elias and Golda/Gussie/Augusta Goldberg). Robert’s great-grandparents Yosef and Golda were both Jewish immigrants from Lithuania, Yosef from Jonava and Golda from Prienai/Pren. Yosef was the son of Meyer Eliasovitz/Elias and Bealia Cohen. Golda’s parents were Moses “Morris” Chies Goldberg and Khala/Khaia/Chala Gitel “Ida” Algaze/Algazy.

Robert’s paternal grandmother was Elizabeth “Betty” Jesse McLoughlin/McLauchlen (the daughter of James Robert McLauchlen and Ellenore/Eleanor “Ella” Ormay). Robert’s grandmother Elizabeth, who was a model, was born in New York. Robert’s great-grandfather James was born in Massachusetts, to parents from Canada, John Robert McLauchlen, from New Brunswick, and Jessie Murray, from Nova Scotia, and had Irish ancestry. Robert’s great-grandmother Ellenore was Jewish, and was born in Hungary, the daughter of Rudolph Ormay and Ilke/Ilka Helen Stern. Rudolph’s parents were Herman Ormay and Elizabeth Heiman. Ilke’s parents were Rudolf Stern and Ilke Rosisatier.

Robert’s maternal grandfather was John “Eddie” Webster Ford (the son of John Ford and Mary). Robert’s grandfather John had Scottish and English ancestry.

Robert’s maternal grandmother was Fay/Faye Marguerite Schoch (the daughter of Cyrus A. Schoch and Elsie May Peightal). Robert’s great-grandfather Cyrus was the son of Henry Lewis Schoch, who was from Bavaria, and Catherine/Katherine Schucker, who were of German descent. Robert’s great-grandmother Elsie was the daughter of James Peightal and Sarah Ann, who were of German and Swiss-German descent.

Sources: Genealogy of Robert Downey, Jr. –

Family history of Robert’s paternal grandfather, Robert Elias –

Robert’s paternal grandmother, Elizabeth “Betty” Jesse McLoughlin/McLauchlen, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Robert’s maternal great-grandfather, Cyrus A. Schoch (focusing on his own father’s side) –

Interview with Robert, mentioning his background –

photo via PR Photos

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

phaedra May 9, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Looks more Jewish than anything.

bearboy May 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm

He is more Jewish than anything else

midori29 June 30, 2016 at 8:23 am

I think he is a very good looking man. I wonder what his non-white dna is? There is some I can tell.

bakchoyhurl February 6, 2016 at 10:54 am

This guy…

bearboy April 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm

He is a great actor!

bearboy April 23, 2015 at 4:16 pm

I’m not sure why but I thought only his grandfather was Ashkenazi Jewish?

follers April 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Yes, that was what was reported for a long time, that his father is of half Eastern European Jewish and half Irish descent.

As it turns out, though, Downey’s grandmother had a father of Irish descent and a mother who was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovered this during his research on Downey’s ancestry in 2012 and wrote about it in his book. It looks like Downey didn’t know about his additional Jewish great-grandmother, Eleanor Ormay, until then.

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