Hollywood legend Tony Scott dead at 68: Top Gun director, who was brother of Ridley, commits suicide in jump from Los Angeles bridge
By LOUISE BOYLE and MICHAEL ZENNIE
Director Tony Scott has died after leaping from a bridge in Los Angeles, authorities confirmed.
Scott, 68, directed popular films including Top Gun, Days Of Thunder, Beverly Hills Cop II and Enemy Of The State.
The British-born director, who is the younger brother of director Ridley Scott, jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in California at around 12.30pm on Sunday, said the LA Coroner’s office.
Scroll down for video
According to the Contra Costa Times, Scott climbed a fence on the south side of the bridge’s apex and leapt off ‘without hesitation’.
A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water several hours later.
Scott’s body was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner’s office.
Investigators found a note in Scott’s black Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
That note listed contact information. A suicide note was later found at his office.
Several people called 911 around 12.35pm to report that someone had jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning Los Angeles Harbor, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Tim Nordquist.
Completed in 1963, the 6,060-foot Vincent Thomas Bridge links rises 185 feet at its highest point above the Los Angeles Harbor.
Scott was highly respected in the industry working on blockbusters with the creme of the A-list including Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
Creative force: Tony Scott (left) with his elder brother Ridley at awards ceremony in Los Angeles two years ago
Tributes started to pour in for the celebrated director who made his last film Unstoppable in 2010, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine.
Director Ron Howard tweeted: ‘No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day.’
TONY SCOTT’S FILMOGRAPHY
- The Hunger (1983) - His debut starred Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie as vampires. It was a commercial flop but became a cult classic
- Top Gun (1986) – Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, and Val Kilmer turned this film into the highest-grossing of the year, $354million, and a pop-culture classic.
- Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) – This Eddie Murphy film was the most highly-anticipated film of the year
- Revenge (1990) – Scott left the action genre to work with Kevin Costner in this adultery thriller. It was a flop
- Days of Thunder (1990) – Cruise returned for a film about the danger of NASCAR racing. Nicole Kidman and Robert Duvall played major roles
- The Last Boy Scout (1991) – Bruce Willis starred in this big-budget action film that under-performed at the box office
- True Romance (1993) – Ironically, this was Scott most critically-acclaimed film but also one of his biggest commercial flops
- Crimson Tide (1995) – Another success for Scott in this thriller starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington
- The Fan (1996) – Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes star in a psychological thriller about fanatical baseball fans
- Enemy of the State (1998) – Will Smith played opposite Gene Hackman in a big-budget spy thriller
- Spy Game (2001) – More glowing reviews for another Scott spy thriller, this one starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt
- Man on Fire (2004) – Denzel Washington as a CIA operative bent on revenge after his young charge is kidnapped in Mexico
- Domino (2005) – Keira Knightley stars as a bounty hunter in LA. Panned by critics
- Déjà Vu (2006) – A science fiction thriller starring Denzel Washington
- The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) – Denzel Washington and John Travolta play opposite each other in this terrorism-related thriller.
- Unstoppable (2010) – Scott again turned to Denzel. The critics enjoyed it and the public too spending $168million
Documentary-maker Morgan Spurlock wrote: ‘RIP Tony Scott – so sad to hear this.’
Lord Of The Rings actor Elijah Wood: ‘Awful news about Tony Scott. rest in peace.’
Comedian Dane Cook: ‘Devastated by the death of Tony Scott. Just watched True Romance 1 of my top 5 fav movies ever a few nights ago. #RIP’
Actor and comedian Nick Frost, who starred in Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz, tweeted: ‘Terribly sad news about Tony Scott. Rest in peace.’
Anthony Scott was born in 1944 in North Shields, England.
His first appearance on screen came at age 16 in The Boy and the Bicycle, a film directed by brother Ridley, who is six years older.
He attended Grangefield School, West Hartlepool College of Art and Sunderland Art School and earned a degree from the Royal College of Art.
Tony followed in his brother’s footsteps, lured by the success of his older brother’s production company Ridley Scott Associates (RSA) – and his promise of a new Ferrari.
He first directed TV commercials before breaking into the American movie industry.
His second American feature film was an amazing success and became a cult classic.
Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, was released in 1986 and became the highest-grossing film of the year, with $175million sales.
Producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer reportedly picked Tony to be director on the strength of one Saab commercial he directed that featured a Swedish fighter jet.
He went on to direct 15 more feature films, many of them successes, though he never again captured the sales or cult following of Top Gun.
Cruise worked with him again four years later on Days of Thunder.
He was known for directing action movies with a fast, kinetic pace.
Scott frequently worked with Denzel Washington, most recently on the runaway train drama Unstoppable.
Scott and Washington collaborated on three other films – Man on Fire, Deja Vu, and The Taking of Pelham 123.
After two unsuccessful marriages, he met his third wife, Donna in 1994.
Donna, a successful model and actress who often appeared in her husband’s films, has two twin boys with Tony.
Tony and Ridley Scott ran Scott Free Productions and were working jointly on a film called Killing Lincoln, based on the best-seller by Bill O’Reilly.
Industry veteran: Producer and director Tony Scott with producer Jerry Bruckheimer at a black tie event and receiving a lifetime achievement award (right)
LIFE BEHINDS THE LENS: THE CAREER OF TONY SCOTT
British-born Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was producer and director Ridley Scott’s younger brother.
Distinct visual styles mark both siblings’ films – Ridley Scott mastering the creation of entire worlds with such films as Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien and this year’s Prometheus, Tony Scott known for hyper-kinetic action and editing on such films as his most recent, the runaway train thriller Unstoppable, starring regular collaborator Denzel Washington.
Tony was the first of the Scott brothers to enjoy blockbuster success with Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, the top-grossing film of 1986 at $176 million.
Scott teamed with Cruise again four years later on the hit Days of Thunder. He also had a sequel to Top Gun in development.
But Ridley Scott later managed more and bigger hits than his brother and earned a level of critical respect never achieved by Tony Scott.
Gladiator won the best-picture Academy Award for 2000 and earned Ridley Scott one of his three best-director nominations; Tony Scott never was in the running for an Oscar, and critics often slammed his movies for emphasizing style over substance.
The two brothers ran Scott Free Productions and were working jointly on a film called Killing Lincoln, based on the best seller by Bill O’Reilly.
Their company produced the CBS dramas NUMB3RS and The Good Wife as well as a 2011 documentary about the Battle of Gettysburg for the History Channel.
Besides Unstoppable, Scott worked with Washington on four other movies: Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, Deja Vu and The Taking of Pelham 123.
Other Scott films include True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino, The Fan, with Robert De Niro, and Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith.
- For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details. In the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255