10 actors and actresses back from the brink
A look at bottomed-out A-listers who successfully re-ignited their careers
Robert Downey Jr.
Early success: As the son of a director, Downey was born into show business and proved he could tackle both comedy and drama early on in films like "Weird Science," "Back to School," "The Pick-Up Artist" and "Less Than Zero." Acclaim for the first phase of his work culminated in an Oscar nomination for 1992's "Chaplin."
The Brink: The actor's struggle with substance abuse, myriad arrests and erratic public behavior significantly slowed his career in the late '90s. While he still appeared in plenty of films -- including an acclaimed turn in 2000's "Wonder Boys" -- he seemed stuck in an endless cycle of wasted nights and wasted potential. His buzzed-about TV career ended short when he was fired from "Ally McBeal."
The comeback: Downey finally cleaned up sometime in 2001, and the mid-2000s gave us a reinvigorated RDJ in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and "Good Night, and Good Luck" in 2005; "Zodiac" in 2007, and a little movie called "Iron Man" in 2008.
Did it take: Most definitely. See you all in line for "The Avengers 2" in 2015.