When we think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we tend to turn to the heroes in front of the camera such as Chris Evans’ Captain America, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man or Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, but there’s hundreds of people behind-the-scenes that have helped make the magic happen over the years including Robert Downey Jr’s personal assistant Jimmy Rich. Rich had been RDJ's right hand man for nearly 20 years, and the Iron Man actor first shared the news that his pal and support beam had tragically died.

Robert Downey Jr announced what happened over Instagram Thursday morning, said Jimmy Rich passed around 8 p.m. Wednesday following a fatal car accident. Downey penned what happened along with briefly delving into the important impact he had on his career and personal life here:

Jimmy Rich comes as a great loss to the Marvel actor since he was family to the star, serving as his “brother” and “uncle” to his kids along with being an important presence on the set of every one of his appearances as Tony Stark. Rich has been credited as Robert Downey Jr’s personal assistant since 2003 on The Singing Detective all the way through his most recent role in Dolittle in 2020.

Rich seemed to come into RDJ’s life at a pivotal time considering when they started working together the actor was at the dawn of a comeback after a rough few years recovering from his own drug and alcohol addiction. As he wrote on the post, Jimmy Rich helped and “supported every step” of his “recovery, life and career.”

Prior to his 2003 comeback that included Robert Downey Jr. finding success again with Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and then George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck in 2005, RDJ hit what he has called “rock bottom” when he was sentenced to 36 months in prison in 1999, to which he served a year, and then was arrested two times after that and then went into rehab. He had been fired from Ally McBeal and was reportedly verging on bankruptcy.

Support systems are incredibly important for recovering addicts, and Jimmy Rich sounds like he was an important figure in Robert Downey Jr’s life, along with sharing the actor’s success on the big screen with the Marvel films. Just last month, Jimmy Rich shared this photo of him and Robert Downey Jr on the Avengers: Endgame set to celebrate the movie’s two-year anniversary:

Here at CinemaBlend we also send over our condolences to Jimmy Rich’s family and friends. Robert Downey Jr ended his post looking to his personal assistant’s legacy of “hope and redemption his life will continue to represent.” It’s a beautiful message, but certainly an affecting one as the Iron Man actor mourns the loss of a close friend and partner.

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