Robert Downey, Jr.

67th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room

Downey in 2010, photo via PR Photos

Birth Name: Robert John Downey, Jr.

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

Date of Birth: April 4, 1965

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish (three eighths), German, Swiss-German, Irish, English, Scottish, remote Austrian

Robert Downey, Jr. is an American actor, musician, and producer, also credited simply as Robert Downey. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Oppenheimer (2023). His roles also include Tony Stark / Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Iron Man (2008) and largely ending in Avengers: Endgame; as well as the films Pound (1970), Firstborn, Weird Science, Back to School, Less than Zero, Johnny Be Good, True Believer, Chances Are, Soapdish, Chaplin (1992), Heart and Souls, Natural Born Killers, Only You, Richard III, Home for the Holidays, Restoration (1995), The Gingerbread Man, U.S. Marshals, In Dreams, Bowfinger, Wonder Boys, The Singing Detective, Gothika, Game 6, Good Night, and Good Luck., Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Zodiac, Charlie Bartlett, Tropic Thunder, The Soloist, Sherlock Holmes, and its sequel; Due Date, Chef, The Judge, and Dolittle (2020); and television’s Ally McBeal.

Robert is the son of Elsie Ann (Ford), an actress, and director, writer, and actor Robert Downey, Sr. He spent his childhood mostly in Greenwich Village. He moved to Los Angeles, California, with his father after his parents’ divorce in 1978. His sister is actress Allyson Downey.

Robert’s father was of one half Lithuanian Jewish, one quarter Irish, and one quarter Hungarian Jewish, ancestry. Robert’s mother had German, Swiss-German, English, Scottish, and remote Austrian, ancestry. Robert’s father was born with the surname Elias, and later changed his surname to Downey, after his own stepfather James Downey. Robert is married to producer Susan Levin Downey. The two married in a Jewish ceremony; Susan is Jewish. Robert has a son with his former wife, singer and actress Deborah Falconer; and two children with Susan.

Robert’s paternal grandfather was Robert R. Elias (the son of Yosef/Joseph/Iosel W. Elias/Eliashovich and Golda/Gussie/Augusta Goldberg). Robert’s grandfather Robert Elias was born in New York. Yosef and Golda were Jewish emigrants, from Lithuania, Yosef from Jonava and Golda from Prienai/Pren. Yosef was the son of Meyer Eliasovitz/Elias/Eliashovich and Bealia/Beylia Cohen. Golda was the daughter of Moses Chies “Morris” Goldberg and Khala/Khaia/Chala Gitel “Ida” Algaze/Algazy.

Robert’s paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Jesse “Betty” McLoughlin/McLauchlen (the daughter of James Robert McLauchlen and Ellenore/Eleanor “Ella” Ormay). 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 a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and was 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 named John Webster “Eddie” Ford (the son of John Ford and Mary). Robert’s grandfather John was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and had English and Scottish ancestry.

Robert’s maternal grandmother was Fay/Faye Marguerite Schoch (the daughter of Cyrus A. Schoch and Elsie May Peightal). Faye was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Cyrus was the son of Lewis Henry Schoch, who was from Bavaria, Germany, and lived in Punxsutawney, PA; and of Catherine/Katherine/Catharine Schucker, who was also of German origin. Elsie was the daughter of James Peightal and Sarah Ann/Anne Flenner, who were of German and Swiss-German descent.

Downey in 1990, photo credit: Alan Light

Sources: Interview with Robert, mentioning his background –

Genealogy of Robert Downey, Jr. –

Genealogies of Robert’s parents –

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

Robert’s paternal grandfather, Robert R. Elias, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

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

Marriage record of Robert’s paternal great-grandparents, James Robert McLauchlen and Ellenore/Eleanor “Ella” Ormay –

Robert’s paternal great-great-grandparents, John Robert McLauchlen and Jessie Murray, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Death record of Robert’s paternal great-great-grandfather, John Robert McLauchlen –

Death record of Robert’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Rudolph Ormay –

Death record of Robert’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Ilke/Ilka Helen (Stern) Ormay –

Robert’s maternal grandmother, Fay/Faye Marguerite Schoch, on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

81 Responses

  1. Obey says:

    He must have some descendant of Latinos as well. He looks like a Latino White European. In South America, France and even Poland, this phenotype with brown eyes is quite common.

    • Alrich says:

      A Latino white european .. whatever the hell that means. A latino can be of any race and ethnicity.

      • passingtime85 says:

        Why respond to a comment over a year old? Anyway the original comment was just specifying which type of Latino the poster saw the similarity between. It doesn’t contradict the idea “Latinos” come in variations. It in fact, implies there’s other types of Latinos, hence the need for specification. You wrongly inferred part of the meaning behind the post.

        • jackson9 says:

          I have nothing against @Obey’s comment but what’s this obsession with no one should respond to a post over a year old? should all comments be deleted on ethnic celebs after a year? If they have factual inaccuracies or if a new fact comes in related to their post that may be interesting why not respond to it? Of course don’t be hostile to anyone’s post but what’s this idea of a one year post?

          • passingtime85 says:

            Because if you read the wording of these responses, they are directed at the original poster. Which is fine usually, but when the post is over a year old, most likely the original poster isn’t even active on the site anymore. They came and went, so a direct response seems silly to me.

            Maybe adding a caveat, just noting that the comment is inaccurate and, idk, just something that makes it understood you’re trying to counter a misinformed comment, rather than leaving response that seems like you’re arguing with a ghost.

            Maybe the response should start something like this:

            This comment is/was based in misinformation or is an uninformed opinion, here’s why blah blah blah.

            Just recognition or cognizance that you, as the responder, realize that you are addressing an old post. These newer users come in here and argue with old posts like it’ll change minds, when no one is there to listen.

            Could you imagine if the frequent users went around arguing every misinformed comment and regressive opinion, on every profile that interests us? It would be ridiculous.

          • jackson9 says:

            Even if it is a direct response to the original poster from a year ago and they aren’t active, so what? Why does everyone on this site get all up in arms about this? Even if the original poster doesn’t see it other current users with a perspective of either the first or second user can jump in and engage in the dialogue as well regardless if the original poster never sees it again. Why does it not change minds and no one listens when it is on the “race related discussions?” Lastly, if every daily user did this, again so what? is there a number of comments that are allowed to be posted on a page?

          • passingtime85 says:

            Just my opinion, it’s dumb. You have a point though, if active users want to chime in and start a new discourse based on old comments, it’s fine. I think I’m the only one, that hassles people for responding to older comments, I suppose it’s a pet peeve of mine.

            It may change someone’s mind, but probably not the users that have stopped coming to the site, obviously as they’re gone. Although I imagine the active users don’t have anything to add, or are like myself, and don’t care to respond because it’s not worth our time.

            When new users come and see comments from 1-4 years ago I often wonder why they take the time to argue their point, I mean they can see when the comments were posted, I wonder why it irks them. I suppose it’s just a personal point of view, that taking the time to respond to these old posts, is frivolous. I understand that others feel differently.

            Man, if people argued every single dissenting opinion, it would be a cluster F. But like you imply, that’s what the discussion section is for, and there is no limitation on the number of posts in this section. Although I think the main focus of the discussion/comments section is just for adding information about genealogy to the specific profiles. Not that other comments aren’t welcome, I just don’t believe that’s what it’s specifically for.

          • jackson9 says:

            I get your point and I think we agree more than we disagree. Regardless, I enjoy discussing this with you and sharing our visions for this website. Want to say I respect you and our difference of opinion 100% :-)

          • passingtime85 says:

            Agreed, Bearboy.

    • VikingHalfa says:

      What is it with people like you ALWAYS thinks that just because you see someone with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, tan skin, and eurocentric facial features; People like you ALWAYS think that that kind of person DEFINETLY has to have Latino and Spaniard/Portuguese ancestry. (Rolls eyes). NEWSFLASH GENIUS! Just because someone of European descent has dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and tan skin; that doesn’t automatically mean they HAVE TO HAVE Latino and Spaniard/Portuguese ancestry. Ethnic Irish people, ethnic Welsh people, and ethnic Scottish people have PLENTY of white people from their lands that naturally have dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and tan skin. Ever heard of Russel Brand? How about Tom Ellis? how about George Clooney? These three men ONLY have Celtic white ancestry from the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland, NONE of them having ancestry being from Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.

      • jackson9 says:

        No one knows who you are addressing and please quit ranting!

      • VikingHalfa says:

        I’m half European, but that doesn’t mean that what I’m saying is incorrect. Everything you’re saying is just speculation.

      • VikingHalfa says:

        How you go on YouTube and look up:

        “Irish People Take DNA Test – ‘SHOCK RESULTS!!”

        By the Youtuber “AreYaHavingThat” who is the main guy of the channel and he is an Irishman who has white skin, dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. When it was his turn to reveal his DNA ancestry results; he ended up being 100% IRISH! How do you explain that?! HUH??

      • VikingHalfa says:

        Wow…at this point…. you’re not basing your views off of any kind of scientific reasoning; you’re only doing it based off of the shallow view of what Hitler’s ideal Aryan race should look like, and you pretty much think THAT is the only thing that should be considered “white.” LOL

      • VikingHalfa says:

        “The fact you state your dumb theories prove how much you’re so ignorant and don’t accept to be mixed.
        Biology claimes that only Europeans from Europe are white, the rest and the mixed ones aren’t”

        How am I ignorant? All I’m saying is that just because a European has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. That doesn’t automatically mean that they HAVE TO BE mixed with something else. (like the Irish guy I mentioned.) AND just because you LOOK completely white that also doesn’t mean that you’re JUST WHITE. You can look like a stereotypical white person and still end up having a minority of their DNA be mixed with non European DNA. And if that don’t believe that then you should go on YouTube again and type in this:

        “Siblings Take DNA Test…”

        The name of this channel is “Brandon Walsh.”

        And in this video a white family of his dad, him, his sisters, and his mom take DNA tests to see what they are; like whose more genetically prone to success, what their personality traits are, what each of their disease risks are, what are their other health risks, AND what they’re ancestry is. So at the end of the video they finally get to the ancestry part of the video. It reveals that that the white guy and his sisters are actually only 73%-83% ethnically European. Yet they are all white! With blue eyes, eurocentric facial features, and light hair straight haired. So! Brandon Walsh and his sister LITERALLY look pure white BUT they’re not. How do you explain that huh??

  2. midori29 says:

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

  3. bearboy says:

    He is more Jewish than anything else

  4. bakchoyhurl says:

    This guy…

  5. bearboy says:

    He is a great actor!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.