Who was Jimmy Rich? ‘Friend’ of Avengers cast and RDJ’s personal assistant dies at 52 in car crash
Robert Downey Jr's longtime assistant Jimmy Rich has died in a car crash on May 5, the actor announced. Rich, who has been with RDJ since 2003, was described as a 'brother' and 'right-hand man' by the actor in an emotional Instagram post. News of the death has taken social media by storm, with many mourning his loss, including Marvel Studios and several other actors from the franchise.
According to reports, Rich died in a car crash at around 8 pm on Wednesday, May 5. It is unclear where exactly the accident happened. RIch has often been credited with helping RDJ get back on track and recover from addiction. When RDJ was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 2000s, Rich came into his life and has been with him since. According to Chris Evans, the two were 'inseparable'.
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RDJ wrote on Instagram mourning his assistant, "This is not news. This is a terrible and shocking tragedy. Jimmy Rich was in a fatal car accident at approx. 8pm yesterday. He was a brother, my right hand man, an uncle to our kids and beloved by all who experienced his singular character and wit.. our thoughts go to his relatives, friends, co-workers, and all the fans who knew him as the man who supported every step of my recovery, life and career.. Again, my condolences to his beautiful family, and the legacy of hope and redemption his life will continue to represent. Peace Be Unto You."
Who was Jimmy Rich?
Not much is known about the 52-year-old assistant. Unlike the 'reel' heroes in front of the camera, Rich was a real hero behind it. He was one of the very few assistants Downey had, and according to Vanity Fair, had an Iron Man tattoo on his calf. From his Instagram profile, we believe Rich's only family (apart from RDJ of course) was his cat, which died in 2020. The only photos of Rich's family are of his aunt Pat, who lives in Westlake Village, California. His Facebook profile says he is from Covina in California.
According to his IMDb page, Rich first joined RDJ on the sets of 'The Singing Detective' in 2002, and since then has gone on to be credited in 22 films as 'additional crew'. He also has an uncredited role in the 2008 short, 'Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness'. Rich has also been credited in every single Marvel film RDJ was involved in and he also had a now-deleted cameo in 'Iron Man 3' that was spotted by one eagle eyed Twitter user, who said, "Just remembering this from the iron man 3 gag reel, i thought it was so cool to finally see jimmy rich in an iron man movie".
just remembering this from the iron man 3 gag reel, i thought it was so cool to finally see jimmy rich in an iron man movie - may he rest in peace ;;; pic.twitter.com/7C1bU8XGu2— 📌 (@armorwars) May 6, 2021
Rich's Instagram profile is filled with photos and videos of RDJ, as well as the rest of the Marvel family. In November 2020, he posted a 'vote for Jimmy' badge photo to the network. We couldn't find any more information, so it is unclear if Rich was just urging people to vote or if he actually campaigned to run for office. In another post, he shared a newspaper clipping of an article, which he claims is about him. According to the article, Rich was hit by a car in Los Alamos in the late 1990s. He was in coma for a while, but after recovering, reportedly became an alcohol addict. "I didn’t sober up for another 8 years... When I hit bottom,,, I just kept digging," he posted.
Marvel cast mourn Rich
As one of RDJ's closest friends, Rich also enjoyed being among other stars in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who were quick to share their condolences. "I don’t have the words. Jimmy Rich was unlike anyone else. He left an indelible impression on everyone he met. No one more so than my brother @robertdowneyjr They were inseparable. I’m sending all my love to Jimmy’s friends and family. Be sure to hug your loved ones tightly and please take the time today to show Downey how many people love him and are here for him during this incredibly dark time", Chris Evans posted on Instagram.
"Oh no! I’m so sorry man. Im praying his family, you and yours. That sucks so bad. I’m so sorry to hear that. He was awesome. Such a tragedy," Chris Pratt replied to RDJ's post. Mark Ruffalo replied, "Such a tragedy. Such a good man. I have known him almost as long as I have known you, Robert. Breaks my heart to have Jimmy go over to the other world. You will be missed Jimmy. Thanks for always being real, always being there to lend a hand and showing the way of light forward to so many people. Another sad day." Josh Brolin said, "No words. Just tears and gratitude for the gift that was him."
Many people have also taken to Twitter to mourn Rich, who has clearly left a huge hole in the Marvel family. The large impact he had just goes to show, that sometimes, the real heroes aren't in front of the camera.