Susan Downey

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Susan Downey
Susan Downey 2014.jpg
Susan Downey in 2014
Susan Nicole Levin

(1973-11-06) November 6, 1973 (age 49)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Years active1995–present
TitlePresident (executive), Team Downey
(m. 2005)

Susan Nicole Downey (née Levin; born November 6, 1973)[1] is an American film producer. Until February 2009, she was co-president of Dark Castle Entertainment and executive vice president of production at Silver Pictures, Joel Silver's production company. Susan is married to Robert Downey Jr.[2] The couple has formed their own production house named Team Downey.

Early life[edit]

Levin was born in Schaumburg, Illinois, to Rosie and Elliott Levin, a businessman.[3] She became interested in the movie business at age 12.[1] She graduated from Schaumburg High School as class valedictorian in 1991.[1][4] She is Jewish.[5][6]

Interested in pursuing a career in film production, Levin moved to California and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.[7] She began her career at Threshold Entertainment, where she oversaw the development and production of projects based on well-known properties for both the company's film and television slates. These include the feature films Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, as well as the 22-episode TV series Mortal Kombat: Conquest which ran on both TNT and in syndication.[8]


Silver Pictures[edit]

Downey held the dual posts of co-president of Dark Castle Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Production at Silver Pictures. Joining Silver Pictures in 1999, she oversaw the development and production of feature films released under both banners, including Thir13en Ghosts and Swordfish.

In 2002, she made her producing debut as a co-producer on Ghost Ship and then co-produced the 2003 release Cradle 2 the Grave. Downey went on to produce the features Gothika and House of Wax, and also served as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed comedic thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Downey later produced Neil Jordan's psychological drama The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard; Guy Ritchie's comedy RocknRolla, starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandiwe Newton, Idris Elba, Chris Bridges and Jeremy Piven; the horror thriller Orphan, starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard; and the thriller Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale.

She was also an executive producer on the Hughes brothers' post-apocalyptic drama The Book of Eli, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.[9]

Sherlock Holmes[edit]

Downey was working on production for Guy Ritchie's crime film RocknRolla, during which her husband Robert Downey Jr., visited her office at Silver Pictures and learned about Ritchie's plans for a new Sherlock Holmes film; at her husband's request, Susan set up a meeting with Ritchie, and soon the film had Robert Downey Jr. as its lead.[10] The film became the first time since 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that the Downeys had worked together, and according to Robert Downey Jr., the couple enjoyed it very much because they did not have to "miss each other" during the long production.[11]

Sherlock Holmes opened to good reviews and record-breaking box office over the Christmas holiday in 2009. It was the couple's most financially successful joint venture to date,[12] and netted Robert Downey Jr. his third Golden Globe Award, his first for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. In his satirical, self-deprecating acceptance speech, he started off by thanking his wife: "First of all, I would like to thank Susan Downey for telling me that Matt Damon was going to win, 'so don't bother to prepare a speech.' That was at about 10AM." He continued his speech by noting all the people he supposedly wasn't going to thank (indirectly thanking them for giving him a chance to be in the movie) and again singled out his wife for tribute: "I mean, I really don't want to thank my wife, because I could be bussing tables at the Daily Grill right now if not for her."[13]

Post-Silver Pictures[edit]

Susan worked with the production staff of Iron Man 2, Due Date and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows alongside her husband, allowing the couple to work together again after the first Sherlock Holmes completed production.

Team Downey[edit]

In June 2010, Robert and Susan Downey announced the formation of their Warner Bros.-based production company Team Downey, and hired David Gambino to be president of production.[14] Their first producing project is Yucatan, a heist film originally crafted by Steve McQueen as a star vehicle for himself.[14]

Columbia Pictures announced on October 20 it had obtained the rights to Neil Strauss' non-fiction 2009 bestseller Emergency! This Book Will Save Your Life. The book is to be developed into a feature produced by Team Downey.[15]

The Downeys are also developing a musical project for Warner Bros. from a pitch by "Next to Normal" composers Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt.[16]

Team Downey produced the family drama The Judge (2014), starring Downey Jr.[17]

In 2011, Team Downey announced plans to produce the tragic, shark-infested tale of the USS Indianapolis and the exoneration of her captain (decades later) due to the efforts of schoolboy Hunter Scott.[18]

By October 2020, Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey announced plans to expand the Warner Bros. Sherlock Holmes film series into a media franchise, with Team Downey working on installments including additional films, spin-offs, and television series for HBO Max, and other media in a shared universe. Though they do not intend to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which Robert had starred in from 2008 to 2019, the pair acknowledged that they felt that working with Marvel Studios taught them much with regards to world building.[19] In April 2022, Susan Downey announced two television series set in the films' universe to be in development for HBO Max, in addition to a third film starring her husband and Jude Law.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Levin with her husband Robert Downey Jr. at the Avengers: Age of Ultron world premiere

Susan Levin's first full-credit producer job was for the 2003 thriller Gothika, starring Halle Berry and Levin's future husband, actor Robert Downey Jr. Downey – who was in the process of divorcing his first wife, Deborah Falconer[21] — has said that his most memorable recollection about shooting Gothika was "romancing the producer";[22] Levin stated to James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio that while she thought Downey was "an amazing actor that we were lucky to have in our movie",[22] her first impression of him was that he was "weird".[22] The two quietly struck up a romance – though she turned down his romantic advances twice for fear that their relationship would not last through the completion of shooting because "he's an actor; I have a real job". The couple eventually made their relationship public in the fall of 2003.[23]

Downey proposed to Levin on November 5, 2003, the night before her 30th birthday.[23] and were married on August 27, 2005, in a Jewish ceremony at Amagansett, New York.[24][25] She gave birth to their first son, Exton Elias Downey, on February 7, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.[26] On July 9, 2014, Downey Jr. announced via his Facebook and Twitter that he and his wife were expecting a daughter in November.[27][28] Their daughter, Avri Roel, was born on November 4, 2014.[29]

Susan is a stepmother to Robert's first son from his first marriage, Indio Falconer Downey, born in September 1993.

Downey credits his wife with helping him with his former drug and alcohol habits, which he quit in 2003, and revitalising his career. "The old saying is true – behind every good man there's an incredible woman. I owe a huge amount – if not all – of my success to Susan. We make a great team, and all that luck I spoke about, that's Susan".[30] Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie describes the couple as "the greatest illustration of a symbiotic marriage that I've ever seen. It's a real yin and yang, and it's made him a joy to work with. Robert would be a pain in the ass if he didn't have Susan to police him".[31] One of Downey's biceps bears a tattoo which reads "Suzie Q" as a tribute to her.[32]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Ghost Ship Co-producer Credited as Susan Levin
2003 Cradle 2 the Grave Co-producer Credited as Susan Levin
2003 Gothika Producer Credited as Susan Levin
2005 House of Wax Producer Credited as Susan Levin
2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Executive producer Credited as Susan Levin
2007 The Reaping Producer
2007 The Invasion Executive producer
2007 The Brave One Producer
2008 RocknRolla Producer
2009 Orphan Producer
2009 Whiteout Producer
2009 Sherlock Holmes Producer
2010 The Book of Eli Executive producer
2010 Due Date Executive producer
2010 Iron Man 2 Executive producer
2011 Unknown Executive producer
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Producer
2014 The Judge Producer
2020 Dolittle Producer
2020 Perry Mason Executive Producer
2021 Sweet Tooth Executive Producer


  1. ^ a b c Kimberly Cutter (December 9, 2009). "Susan Downey: Iron Woman". Harpers Bazaar. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  2. ^ Zeitchik, Steven; Kit, Borys (November 15, 2008). "Andrew Rona likely to join Silver Pictures". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 19, 2019.Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (October 1, 2014). "Robert Downey Jr., Producer Wife Susan Reveal Their Quirky Relationship, "Perfectly Symbiotic" Marriage". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Meyer-Abbott, Ben (April 8, 2009). "Schaumburg There's no doubt: The Saxons rule". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Alexander, Bryan (May 1, 2013). "Robert Downey Jr. is avenging alone in 'Iron Man 3'". USA Today. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Raab, Scott (February 21, 2007). "May God Bless and Keep Robert Downey Jr". Esquire. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Susan Levin biography at; retrieved March 23, 2009.
  8. ^ "Susan Levin Joins Silver Pictures as Vice President, Production. – Free Online Library". Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "Due Date" (PDF). Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "Robert Downey Jr 'to play Holmes'". BBC News Online. July 10, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
  11. ^ "Robert and Susan Downey glad to be working together Archived April 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine", retrieved March 23, 2009.
  12. ^ "Robert Downey, Jr. Movie ox Office Results". Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  13. ^ "Robert Downey Jr.'s Golden Globes Acceptance Speech is Today's Big Thing in Entertainment". January 19, 2010. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Robert and Susan Downey hire prexy, tap spirit of Steve McQueen for first pic". June 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "An 'Emergency' for Robert Downey Jr". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (December 3, 2010). "Downeys set up musical at Warner Bros". Variety.
  17. ^ McNary, Dave; Abrams, Rachel (March 23, 2011). "WB taps David Seidler for 'The Judge'". Variety.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (August 17, 2011). "Robert and Susan Downey to Produce USS Indianapolis Sinking Story for Warner Bros. (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  19. ^ Berkowitz, Joe (October 5, 2020). "Exclusive: Robert Downey Jr. on planning a 'Sherlock' universe with Marvel-style world building". Fast Company. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  20. ^ White, Nellie Andreeva,Peter; Andreeva, Nellie; White, Peter (April 5, 2022). "'Sherlock Holmes' Spinoff Series Eyed By HBO Max With Robert Downey Jr. Producing". Deadline. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  21. ^ "Good Clean Fun Archived July 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine", Los Angeles Times, November 2002, as hosted at; retrieved March 23, 2009.
  22. ^ a b c Stated in an interview with Robert on Inside the Actors Studio, 2006.
  23. ^ a b The Oprah Winfrey Show, third segment, November 22, 2004; retrieved March 23, 2009.
  24. ^ Hall, Katy (August 29, 2005). "Robert Downey Jr. Marries Girlfriend". People. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  25. ^ Stevens, Honie (August 17, 2008). "No joke: actors saved by love". Retrieved January 23, 2009.
  26. ^ Michaud, Sarah; Leonard, Elizabeth (February 7, 2012). "Robert Downey Jr. Welcomes Son Exton Elias". People. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  27. ^ Downey Jr., Robert [@RobertDowneyJr] (July 9, 2014). "Yo. Susan. Me. Baby. Girl. November. Scorpio?" (Tweet). Retrieved July 10, 2014 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "Um. I don't know if it's a "man's world", but I'm certain women run it. Susan and I are therefore delighted to announce we are expecting a baby. Girl. November. rdj". Facebook. July 9, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  29. ^ Caulfield, Philip (November 4, 2014). "Robert Downey Jr. and wife, Susan, welcome new baby girl, Avri Roel". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  30. ^ "Give Downey His Due". Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  31. ^ Cutter, Kimberly (December 9, 2009). "Susan Downey Interview – Susan Downey on Her Marriage to Robert Downey Jr. – Harper's BAZAAR". Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  32. ^ Barrett, Jennifer. "Article – Newsweek, November 15, 2003". Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2012.

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