Michael Joseph Downey

Michael Joseph Downey, 57, a devoted husband and father and producer of  award winning TV commercials, died suddenly, Monday, March 18 at home in Norwood,  New Jersey.

In 2004, Mike and his wife Christen Downey, founded Hero Content, a production company and advertising agency in New York City.

Among their numerous projects, Hero Content produced the award-winning “The Getaway” commercial for Nike and “Dawn Saves Wildlife” commercials for Proctor & Gamble.

In 2011, the film, “Roadie,” produced by Hero Content, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival to favorable reviews. The film starred Ron Eldard and Jill Hennessy.

Committed to charitable causes, Mike produced the “Tackle Kids Cancer” campaign for Hackensack University Health Network featuring New York Giants  quarterback, Eli Manning. He also created video content for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, the PAL Wrestling Program and Family Promise of Bergen County.

He was New York Unit Producer for seasons 5, 6 and 7, on Showtime Network’s drama, Ray Donovan. 

Mike grew up in Spring Garden in Philadelphia. He attended St. Joseph’s Preparatory School where he was on the wrestling team and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Fordham University.

From age 12 through his teens he worked part-time at a neighborhood gourmet grocery. In the summer he was a lifeguard and pool manager at Lake Naomi, in the Poconos where his parents had a vacation home. He was introduced to his future wife by a mutual friend in Lake Naomi. They married in 1995 and had three children, Jedh, Sophie and Jackson.

An avid Philadelphia sports fan, Mike was the loudest cheerleader at his sons’ football  and baseball games, track meets and wrestling matches and his daughter’s soccer and basketball games and track meets.

He was an active member of Presbyterian Church in Norwood.  He loved walking his dog Ace, cooking for his family and comic books.   

In addition to his wife and children, Mike is survived by his mother, Sally, and sister Regina. He is predeceased by his father, Paul.

Visiting hours are from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at Pizzi Funeral Home, 120 Paris Ave., Northvale, NJ 07647. Services are private.


  1. Kevin Riley and Hilaury Stern

    So incredibly sad. Mike was one of the best! I still remember picking up production supplies from the “Ready Room”. He was always so straight and grounded! He brought me in for my first regular gig as a first AD for Michael Cuesta. I owe him a bunch. Our love and thoughts to Christie, Jedh, Sophie and Jackson.



  3. I’m so incredibly sorry, sending all my love to the Downey family. Mike was one of a kind & I feel like he was family to me. All our years together & laughs at The Artists Company, I treasure. You are and will be missed Mike Downey.

  4. Maria Vizoukis

    I’m so terribly sorry. May his memory be eternal.

  5. Diane Frohlich

    Although not family by blood, you were my family thru love and I will miss our friendship forever. You will always be with me.

  6. The Garison Family

    Sally cousin dear, My heart breaks for you and extended family. I can not imagine how this must hurt. What a special person and accomplished so much.Find peace in the fact that you were great parents and he had a lot of people around him who really cared about him.I shall keep you all in my prayers .

  7. I just saw this! We all loved Mike. We worked on a few projects with Michael Questa Jr. so many memories with him.

  8. William J. Phillips Jr.

    I’m saddened and shocked to hear of Mike’s passing. I remember doing homework and playing street hockey together. Mike was always a nice guy, I don’t remember him saying anything bad about anyone. My condolences to his mother, wife and kids, so sorry for your loss.

  9. Mike. A gaping hole is left where you once stood. I started my professional life with you as you were editing United Way with Michael Cuesta at Dennis Hayes 30 years ago. I was getting you coffee and ultimately with your help I made it to The Artists Company and found my path to being a director. None of that wouldn’t have happened without you. You were the uncannily perfect example of street smarts and boom smarts. I’m forever in debt to you and my life will never be the same without you. Rest in Peace my brother.

  10. I’m sorry for your loss. May his soul and the souls of all our departed rest in God and with our saints gone before us.

  11. Joe SanGiacomo

    I’m beyond broken hearing this news. Christie, Jedh, Sophie and Jackson my deepest condolences. Mike was a loyal friend to all and just an incredible man who loved his family. I will cherish countless fond memories we shared throughout the years. I can go on and on. May God Bless Mike “Pals” ! I will carry him in my heart forever. Rest In Peace My Brother !

    The SanGiacomo Family

  12. Mike, You were and always will be an inspiration to all who knew and loved you. When I worked with Mike he made everything come together like a dream. He was funny but took his work seriously. Mike was always eager to help teach us agency producers how things worked…Never laughed at us (well, maybe sometimes) but took the time to help us learn the process. Mike was so proud of his kids….How many times did I get photos and the news of their successes…..It was fun getting to “know” them. And Christen! What a team they were. There will never be another one like Mike. I’ll miss the calls from him “Hey dc, need help with cheap production?”….Always there. Rest in peace my friend. You won’t be easily replaced.

  13. David Weinstock

    I am truly heartbroken to hear of Mikes passing. He was a kind, energetic, creative, soul who brought so much passion to his work, friendships, and mentorship. Always a supportive creative partner and problem solver and always with grit and humor. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest In Peace.

    With Love,

  14. I met and worked with Mike many times. He was such a kind, down to earth, and friendly guy. Just a joy to be around. He always made everyone laugh and gave us all chances to climb up the production ladder. He loved his family so much and he will be missed by all.

  15. Sincere condolences to the entire family! Mike was a childhood friend and the epitome of a ‘good guy’ even then before life took him on the fabulous, way too short lived journey!’ We connected recently to make other connections – and it’s if we texted yesterday …… fly high Mike! xo

  16. My heart goes out to all the family in this time of tragic loss, and especially to Sally — Mike’s mother, a great lady, and my friend. You are all in my thoughts.
    May you find comfort in time.

  17. To The Downey Family,

    My heart feels for you during this hard time and you are in my prayers.

    It has been many years since the Poconos where we all spend every weekend at Mikes House. Those are some of my best memories I remember to this day. Mike was a gem and always made us laugh.

    I hope you rest in peace as an angel looking down.

    Debbie Bruno

  18. Mike,
    You were an awesome man who loved and admired Christine, Jedh, Sophie, and Jackson. I will miss our texts, calls and great conversations. You’re time with us was very precious as I remember the first time I ever met you at the baseball field, we talked and I really enjoyed your humor and your admiration of your family which of course is what is most important in our life. I will miss you dearly my friend even though we argued about the Giants and Eagles all the time! I’ll especially miss your famous Norwood cheese steak that you made us! God heal your loving family through this difficult time so they may continue to spread the love you have in your heart. Miss you pal.

  19. Oh, Sally, my heart breaks for you. You have raised an extraordinary man because you are an extraordinary woman. I have made a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Michael’s memory. Know that all of us here at the Philadelphian cherish you and wish you and the whole family peace. May Michael’s memory be for a blessing.

    Lita Cohen

  20. Janet Margolies

    Our heartfelt condolences to all of you at this time. Our love to all. Janet,Art, Anna & Molly.

  21. Brian Kilcullen

    I saw this yesterday and was completely blindsided. I want to give my deepest sympathy to Christen, Jedh, Jackson and Sophie, also to his mother and sister. I know he was deeply committed and proud of his family. Back when we both worked at the Artists Company we would talk daily and laughter always ensued. I always considered him to be a best friend even after he moved on from the Artists Company. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. I know he will be missed by them and me.

    Brian Kilcullen and family
    Studio City, Ca.

  22. Mikey you made the world a better place. I can only think of your kindness you shared with me. I am honored to know you and your memory remains. Thank you for the friendship. my deepest sympathies to your family and your beautiful wife.
    Kevin Breslin

  23. Justin F. Havlik

    Sad and somber news on this rainy day. Mike was an advocate for the underdog and champion of all. He really cared but wasn’t afraid to call people out on their BS. No nonsense and a knack for running a tight ship. Was a fellow Fordham alum was always looking out for everyone in his circle. G*d bless you Mike and blessings to his family and everyone that loved him.

  24. Karen Seeman & Jan Beye

    Jamie Papageorgiou sent us this shocking sad news of our former Tenafly neighbor Mike Downey’s early passing. Chris, Jedh, Sophie & Jackson, we send you our sincerest sympathies. We have fond, sweet memories of Jedh playing basketball with Mike , while Chris was pregnant with Sophie. How wonderful that your sweet family made an impact on both entertainment and charity! The Downey family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  25. Dennis Szumski

    Juliet, myself and Julianna from PCIN share your grief and lost. Nothing anyone can will take away your loss. May GOD grant you and your family peace.

  26. So sorry for Sally and her family. I can only imagine how heartbroken you all are. My prayers are with you.

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