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Robert Downey, Jr. Pays it Forward


(Iron) Man of the hour, actor Robert Downey, Jr. knows all about “scraping the bottom of a barrel”, “being down and out” and “being kicked to the curb” because he was once scraping the bottom of the barrel by being down and out after being kicked to the curb by his addictions and substance abuse.

But, Robert Downey, Jr., also knows all about “second chances” — and one man who helped him get a second chance at life and a career in Hollywood is Mel Gibson, who for a time was also kicked to the curb by drunken rages, racist rants and a woman who villain-ized him.

So, after hours of speeches dedicated to him and his craft, Robert Downey, Jr. got on stage to accept his award at The 25th annual American Cinematheque Award gala, and the man who gave him the award was none other than a man with a troubled past, just like him — Mel Gibson.

Downey Jr. waited until the entire crowd was seated before beginning his speech. He recalled Gibson saying that if he accepted his inner demons, or “hug the cactus,” as Gibson referred to the process, Gibson would help him out during his battles with substance abuse.

Indeed Gibson came to Downey Jr.’s aid with a starring role in “The Singing Detective” — a role developed for Gibson himself, and all that he asked in return was that Downey Jr. would someday help out the next guy.

Downey Jr. turned to the audience, full of actors, executives and industry personnel and said it was now time that Gibson who had “hugged the cactus” long enough was shown the forgiveness that Hollywood had bestowed on him.

The crowd once rose to a standing ovation for Gibson as he humbly accepted the applause – perhaps a sign of Hollywood’s forgiveness to come.

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