Another Toback/Downey story, this one from Vanity Fair, 2014.
"The collaboration with Downey on The Pick-Up Artist had its exciting moments, some of them occurring when the camera was rolling, others when it was not. The final one took place on what was to be the last of three extra shooting days we had been granted by Fox to fill in some holes which had emerged during editing. Cast and crew were assembled at the designated location in downtown Los Angeles, but Downey was missing. Frantic calls were made everywhere. Production assistants were sent to check out the house in Beverly Hills he had rented from Desi Arnaz Jr. By early afternoon, the decision was made to take an insurance claim. We would have to do without the new scenes. So extreme was my rage that I switched back and forth between fear and hope that something awful had befallen him. I decided to examine the house for myself. I drove to it and rang every bell and pounded on every door. There was no response. I found a rock and smashed the window of the kitchen door, reached around, and let myself in. I moved quickly, calling out Downey’s name, to no effect. Then, suddenly, I found myself standing three feet from his naked body, lying flat on the living-room floor. I shouted his name and tried to rouse him but got no response. I called a doctor, who arrived promptly, examined Downey, and then administered medication.
“Five minutes later and he would have been dead,” the doctor said dramatically.
After effusive thanks and receiving instructions for Downey’s care, I saw the doctor to the door. Then I approached Downey, who was now sitting on the sofa in his underwear, gazing at me with a look of displeasure.
“I’m disappointed in you,” he said.
“You’re disappointed in me! Are you out of your fucking mind!”
“No. Because I know what you’re thinking. You’re assuming the worst—that I was into some drug thing and that’s what made me late.”
“Late! You didn’t show up at all!”
“Do you want to know the truth?”
“Oh Jesus fucking Christ!”
“You know what? Now I’m not even going to tell you.”
“O.K. What’s the truth?” I asked, perversely curious to see what Downey would invent.
“I had dinner at Carlos and Charlie’s last night and they served bad chicken and I got food poisoning.”
I tried—unsuccessfully—to suppress a laugh.
“You see? I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” he said. “O.K.—I insist that you call the restaurant right now and ask the manager how many people called in this morning to complain about the bad chicken. And I want to hear his reaction.”
Dutifully, I called Carlos and Charlie’s and asked to speak to the manager. “Excuse me. I have a friend who got food poisoning from the chicken you served last night and I’d like to know how many other people have called in to complain today.”
“Who the hell is this?” the manager screamed. “What are you talking about! No one has ever gotten sick from our food!”
I hung up and looked at Downey, whose expression could be charted somewhere between satisfaction and triumph.
“Well, what?” I said. “He denied it categorically.”
“Of course he denied it,” Downey exclaimed with exasperation. “What did you think he was going to say? He has to deny it.”
I waited for a few moments to see if Downey would crack up in the hope of an eyelash of empathetic camaraderie but—stone-faced—he was determined to play out the scene to the hilt."
I read this before I read the other stuff and was inclined to believe it. Now, I'm not so sure. Downey has been so open about his drug life that it seems hard to believe that a near-death experience like this wouldn't be something he'd mention at some point. And the whole anecdote has a weird salacious feel to it. Plus, we're supposed to believe that a doctor would arrive for a life-threatening condition - but then not send for an ambulance? That he'd give some random dude and not a family member instruction for the care and feeding of a nearly-dead naked kid?
If I were Downey I'd sue this lardy bitch.