Downey Jr., who played the titular role of Charlie Chaplin in Lord Attenborough’s 1992 film, has now honoured the memory of his late friend too, crediting him with helping the actor break into Hollywood.
A statement issued via E! News reads: “I’m so grateful I was able to visit Lord Attenborough recently, to deeply thank him for his contributions to cinema, his lasting impact on all who knew him, and his legacy of philanthropy, wit and kindness.
“I wouldn’t be who I am personally or professionally if not for Dickie, and I am equally indebted to (Attenborough’s wife) Lady Sheila (Sim), who was and remains every bit his equal…”
Downey Jr.’s role as the silent movie star in the biopic earned him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1993, as well as a BAFTA Award win for Best Actor in the same year.
Actress Jane Seymour has also paid tribute to her former father-in-law Attenborough, who she also worked with on two movies.
Seymour, who was briefly married to his son Michael Attenborough in the 1970s, says: “The world has lost one of its greatest men. Dickie was not only a great actor, director and philanthropist but a man I had the opportunity to know as my mentor and father-in-law.
“I worked as a chorus girl on the first few days of his directorial career in Oh What a Lovely War. His enthusiasm for life and creativity was contagious and his ability to make everyone feel important and valued was unique to him. When he called you darling you felt his love and I will forever miss him and the wisdom and love he shared with me and his friends and family.
“His movies and the way he was able to communicate will forever show that he was always ready to help fight for human dignity. Personally I shall miss the man that inspired me the most. His love, advice, and wisdom. Above all, he was a wonderful father, brilliant and endlessly enthusiastic.”