The 49 year-old Robert Downey sounds like a satisfied, fair-minded guy with a good amount of smarts and self-knowledge in Krista Smith’s interview piece in the current Vanity Fair. But the old truism about a performer’s personal happiness and stability having little if anything to do with how exciting or magnetic their “act” might be still applies. Downey was a fascinating actor for 20-plus years, and then he became a corporate franchise megastar starting with Iron Man in ’08. I really, really don’t care how wealthy he is now (although Vanity Fair‘s editors clearly do) or how close to ruination he was during his druggie period of the late ’80s and ’90s. I only know that my favorite Downey performance was in James Toback‘s Black and White (’99), and that my second favorite was his crime reporter character in David Fincher‘s Zodiac. I also know that talented people leading unhealthy, high-throttle lifestyles can sometimes exude peak-energy highs. From my vantage point John Lennon was much, much cooler when he was struggling with his demons (’64 to ’74) than when he became a happy house-husband. Jackie Gleason and Sid Ceasar seemed much cooler when they were live TV madmen in the ’50s and, from what I’ve read, boozing almost every night in midtown Manhattan. I’ve been told by more than one friend that I was a funnier, more whoo-whoo type of guy when I was drinking…fair enough.