Downey Jr. Gets TV Role

Friday, August 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Robert Downey Jr., released from prison last week, didn't have to wait long to find work.

He will be joining the Fox series ``Ally McBeal'' in a recurring role, playing a mysterious stranger who seems able to connect with the complicated Ally, played by Calista Flockhart.

``We're thrilled. We've admired his work for years and know he'll make an enormous contribution to 'Ally McBeal,''' series creator David E. Kelley said Thursday.

``David's a genius, Calista's awesome, and once again I have a choice of shirt colors,'' Downey said, apparently joking about his recent prison garb. He will make his debut in the series' season premiere on Oct. 23.

Downey, 34, was jailed in June 1999 after he admitted during a probation hearing that he missed scheduled drug tests. He was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation but gained early release because of errors made in calculating his sentence and the time he had served.

After his release, the actor moved into Walden House, a facility he had previously lived in while trying to end his drug problem. His attorney said it was to help him make the transition from prison.

The actor's legal troubles date to June 1996 when he was stopped for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway and authorities found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his vehicle.