Robert Downey Sr.
Described by an associate as "a big jovial bear", Robert Downey Sr translated his irreverent, mordant humor to the screen as the writer-director of several experimental cult classics of the late 1960s and early 70s. Downey had worked in advertising and lampooned that business in the movie everyone associates with him, "Putney Swope" (1969), about the hilarious changes made by a token black member of an ad agency after he is accidentally elected Chairman of the Board. Though his greatest success, "Putney Swope" appears dated today, and the richer-looking (Downey finally had some money to spend) "Greaser's Palace" (1972) may have withstood the test of time. A super-offbeat Jesus Christ parody with a Western setting, it offers some wonderful performances by Allan Arbus as a zoot-suited Jesus, Albert Henderson as head Greaser and Stan Gottlieb as the "wife" of a deformed Mexican with a lecherous yen for the Saviour, but despite the inspired hilarity, its 91 minute running time seems longer than that.