To Robert John Downey, Jr.
(who probably never will get to read this... Unfortunately.)


Hannover, Germany  
End of May & early June, 2001  

Dear Mr. Downey, Jr.
- Hi Robert...

        I don't want to talk around the bush, so I start straight ahead. This letter is resulting from writing some words about Robert Downey Jr. at the ''Info about Gabi'' page, a part of a collection of english and american bands web sites which I'm doing since late 1996. I highly recommend first to read the short chapter there before you continue to read this letter. Many of the things I say below are hard and direct, and hopefully easier to set into the right relation if you know my ''general opinion'' about you. You can switch back to this letter from there anytime you want.

        It's not easy to find the right words and describtions to explain what I would like you to know, especially if a german (like me) has to write in English language... Well, I've done it the best I could and anything I say is heartfelt, emotional, concerned about you. I'm almost 38 years old now and never thought I would ever do something like this, to write such a letter to someone I didn't even have met once! To be such crazy to put it onto the internet, in front of the public - but I have to give it a try. A missed chance is a lost chance. If people call me mad or laugh about me (which is far better than to make them cry, am I right?), I don't mind 'cause I stand for my convictions with all consequences. I believe in you and that's what counts. For which reason ever, you're important to my life, I can't explain why exactly (not even to myself), it's just like that and that's ok. Anyway, maybe someone who knows you comes here and tells you about it, or not - whatever. And if it really is YOU who reads this now, please let me ask you not to stop after you've read the first sentences because I maybe use the wrong words, am not ''nice'' enough or you think I'm just another maniac who sticks the nose into other people concerns... Believe me, I'm old enough, have been through a many of things, to know what I'm doing. Only wish I could talk to you from eye to eye or ear to ear. Would be much better to receive direct response, however it may be. An ''attack'' like this isn't fair to you, I know. Sorry for that! A real conversation would be great, but is not possible - so here it goes...

        Why am I writing this letter?
Totally egoistical motives: I try to ''fight'' for not losing someone who provides me with good feelings, thoughts, inspirations. Someone whom I highly respect for being one of the rare ''human'' and honest guys in the movie-biz. Someone who's doing what he wants to do, above all rules. The crazy thing is, that's what makes me worried at the same time. Not much logic in that... (Has to be logic in everything we do? Doesn't logic kill feelings???)

        I'm scared too early the day will come when your name will be just one of too many names on the list of ''Outstanding Artists who had to offer something unique and special to the world, but left it far too early because of drug abuse''. We never will stop wondering what additional great things they would have made if they would have ''stayed with us'' a bit longer. I'm an music addict so I end up to name examples such like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Alan Wilson,... Stevie Ray Vaughan, whom truly was a loveable man 'cause he never was arrogant but always grateful for his talent - He DRANK cocaine while being on stage, have you known this? Man, thinking on it almost makes me say "Let them take anything they want or need, if it enables them to give us such a pleasure with what they're doing!" Instead of that it makes me sad things like this happen. How strange it is to enjoy something, which is/was made under such circumstances. It puts a huge amount of guilt onto me. Have a look at Blues legend guitarist Johnny Winter, whom is still (kind of) alive after he has spent his life with hard drugs, to be able to be creative under the stress which comes when being on tour all the time, the pressure to play the stuff the fans want to hear, no matter if himself was/is in the mood/constitution to do it or not. He's looking like a zombie. Although I never was a fan of his, it brings tears to my eyes and hurts my heart to see him like this. Someone who made/makes so many people happy deserves something better. There is something totally wrong with the system. It's the same in all areas which deal with artists. You will be eaten alive - if you let them. Please think about it! You will meet those guys and girls, who lost against the system, early enough. Take your trainers off, there's no need to hurry!! Actually you are quite fortunate to be an actor instead of a professional musician. You don't have to offer yourself to the people live on stage every night! They have got no chance for a second take. (Don't know if this is too sarcastic. But there's some truth in it, am I right?)

        My good friend Fito has written a really good autobiography about the ''oh so glamorous'' life in the show-biz. Since 30 years he's the drummer of Woodstock legends Canned Heat (that Boogie&Blues band from L.A., you should have heard from them). Canned Heat have been on top during the Hippies era and still are around today (some of their songs are: Going up the country, Let's work together, On the road again, Amphetamine Annie, Bullfrog Blues,...). The book is a fantastic report of an eye-witness and as a regular reader of artists biographies I can highly recommend this one, 'cause it doesn't stop where most other bio's do. It tells the truth, doesn't leave out anything - it's so damned honest. I love Fito for having written this book and wish more insiders would reveal what really goes on behind the golden curtain. Ordinary people have got a totally wrong imagination. Fito's book contains lots of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll, lots of love, faith, fun, crazyness and tragedy, lots of disappointed dreams and continuing hope. It takes you through all (e)motions. Ellis' ''Below Zero'' is a kids-book in comparision.
If you're interested in reading a true story (the book is called ''Living the Blues'', written by Fito de la Parra) but can't get hold of a copy, let me know and I'll be glad to send you one. If you get it somewhere else, I would be interested in getting to know which one of the guys you would chose to be, if this book would be made a movie (just curious to find out if my guess is right). It's a must read for someone like you, I think.

        Now returning to more important matters...

        You are gifted with the incredible talent/ability to make people laugh and cry, even though you're scared and sad. This talent enables you to give life to fictional figures who make people feel and think, even make people change their thoughts and kinds of view sometimes, although your private thoughts and views often seem to run around in circles. I know some people who also got great talent but don't know how to use it. Others are talented and very proud on it. After my opinion given talent is something to be grateful for instead of becoming arrogant. Anyway, you've got all rights to be kind of proud because you know how to use your talent. You've got so much to offer, so much to give through it. You create a huge lot of inspiration with your art(s). To be honest, to me it's a miracle how someone who gives drugs the power to rule his life is able to constantly provide such high quality in his job like you do, all through the decades! You know, that's - how I think - what makes you special in between all the others. I don't think you do something bad, never would say it's criminal to consume drugs. If it wouldn't be like this I would have to call most of my close friends criminals, what they are definately not.

        I grew up in a bar and through that became used to be together with addicts. 35 years later, after getting to know quite a few other kinds of addictive substances, I still believe alcohol is worse than anything else - and it's legal, so what? Regular consume of alcohol does not only injure the addict but also gots exactly the same effect on all people related to the addict which ''forbidden drugs'' have. Actually alcohol makes its addicts hurt more people physically than any other drug does. Looking at how ''well'' alcoholics are treated by law I am not able to understand why people who do drugs in comparision become treated like criminals. Is it forbidden to do something dangerous to noone else but yourself? Than people who fail to make suicide also should go to jail (which surely would be the worst treatment for them). Is it criminal to kill yourself, or let drugs slowly kill you? In my eyes the true criminals are firstly the drugs and the dealers - They just pretend to be friends while they slowly steal your willpower and kill your body and soul. Second true criminals are the media who absolutely disrespect celebrities' privacy. Like junkies for the dealer they are desperately seek for the next headline behind any corner, under every table, they even set their cameras up right in front of people like you anytime you're going through hell (all this court stuff and so). It is disgusting!! Who can stand it without getting depressed or furious? I couldn't and would surely get into big trouble if I would be present at such occasions 'cause I definately would not ignore what these bastards do. They are inhuman and their pens and cameras should be sticked deep into their throats. Sorry, but I get really angry about unscrupulous devils. One week in which they would be treated like they do treat people maybe could cure them, open their eyes and hearts, I'm not sure about that... - In any case I pay big respect to you for standing all this without "flipping out". It's just sad that too often only drugs can help to go away from all this s**t... - Don't let them win!

        On/In various RD Jr. related web sites and forums many people say they pray for you. Well, I can't join this circle 'cause 1.) I believe IF there would be a God who means it good with us, he wouldn't let bad things happen and 2.) if there really IS a God, like many people believe there is, I can't trust him anymore 'cause he obviously enjoys to watch innocent people suffer, without helping them to get out of their trouble(s) somehow.
        What I will do from over here is to try all I can to send over good thoughts to you on every single day - no matter where you are and what you're doing, no matter where I am and what I'm doing. Hope these positive vibes will reach you and make you feel good and smile. It would be silly to say ''I love you'', like many of your female fans say. HOW can one love someone he/she doesn't really know? It's love to the imagination they've created of you (or is it from or about you?). How far away can this be from reality? 1 billion lightyears. Maybe I've just got a different interpretation of the word "Love", what "true Love" means to me. It's not a man and woman, it's a soul to soul thing.

        I frankly can say, you mean a huge lot to me as an artist and as a person in general (as far as I've got a right to create an opinion about you, after it only can result from anything I see, hear and read from/about you and how I set those bits and pieces together to a picture. Unfortunately this method doesn't offer you a fair chance...). Except on the advice of close friends, I usually give a s**t on what people say and what their reasons are to say so. Got own thoughts and beliefs and I'm not scared to fail (but I'm quite glad this doesn't happen too often!). Every failure is one step closer to wisdom, believe me or not. Someone who never struggles, who never has to fight for something, will never seek deeper senses and hidden truth(s).
        I tend to trust my feelings/intuition. One of my philosophies says "Special people deserve special treatment" - It's out of any question, you're one of these. It's not because you're a great actor and with that became famous, no, you generally seem to be a person who wishes and tries to make people happy and let them have a good time, so you should be happy too - happy and free, to have a good time and enjoy life the way you like! One thing I've learned from life: You have to think on yourself at first. You must be happy to be able to bring happyiness to other people. Cou have to love and accept yourself at least a bit (which, of course, includes to be somewhat egoistical). But also I've learned, there's absolutely no way - and no reason - to (try to) satisfy everyone.

        You are one of the very few people I think about (or is it ''on''?? - Man, I do need some english grammar lessons!!) every single day. Any time I hope and wish you're fine (or at least that you don't feel too bad and/or sad and desperate). I spend much time with your music and movies, hoping some of the good feelings and energy they give to me go straight to you. If that kind of support works, you'll be strong enough to succeed to achieve anything you really want, sooner or later.
        Don't be scared to fail again, never be ashamed about failures. Only the ones who give up trying are losers.

        Only the ones who know the hell can become one of those true angels, who bring us many wonderful things as long as they're alive and with us.
        I'll wait with patience for the day when the bell starts to jingle to announce: ''Robert 'Clarance' Downey Jr. has earned his 2nd wing!'' - It can be a Wonderful World, if we give it a chance, if we open our eyes and ears and share our hearts and souls with the right people.



for everything

The films.
The music.
The smiles and the tears.
The won and the lost fights.
The honesty.
The courage.
The hope.
The continuous inspiration.

...for being genuine.


Please try not to die before I do.
(I'm 2 years older than you, so it should be possible to get that managed!
Although the statistics work against you, which say 'women get older than men'...)
But it's a task, isn't it?!
Just kidding!!! ...seriously... ;o)

Hope my words don't hurt you or make you depressed.
For nothing in this world I want(ed) to make you feel bad.

TAKE CARE, GOOD BOY! We (probably) only got one life...
May all your wishes and dreams come true
- You deserve it. Always.
Your unknown friend, Gabi XXX

Gabriele Schwanke, 30453 Hannover

 The best things in life are for free


We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough.
~ Helen Keller ~ (1880-1968, American Blind/Deaf Author, Lecturer, Amorist)

They can conquer who believe they can.
He has not learned the first lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ (1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist)

If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.
~ Pubilius Syrus ~ (1st Century BC, Roman Writer)

Everything you nee you already have.
You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person,
not an apprentice person on the way someplace else.
Your completeness must be understood by you
and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.
~ Wayne Dyer ~ (1940- , American Psychotherapist, Author, Lecturer)


Re: Your court date on July 16th and its results:

        Thanks to Prep.36 you're still kind of free... but what a big list of rules to follow!! I'm not sure if I could make it...
Fingers crossed you'll live through the 3 years of probation without big problems and the rehab will be a success for you. I wish you a huge amount of will-power, strength and patience! Start to love yourself the right way, and never ever let failure(s) reduce this love.

May an guardian angel always be with you to savely guide you through hard times...



Today I read you're working on your first music album, that's great! Also you're back to work in the meantime, doing "The Singing Detective" with Mel Gibson in England. Ally McBeal closed the office, they'd marked the end of the series themselves the day they kicked you out (can't help myself but can't hide a big grin about their sillyness..., on the other hand I am very glad you've got nothing to do with it anymore. Someone of your class does not belong into one of those soap operas).

Go on like this, Robert. I've know you'll make it.
With respect,
your unknown ''friend'' Gabi


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© COPYRIGHT 2001-2005 BY GABI SCHWANKE (Design, Photos, Texts, etc. - as far as noone else is named.)