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Tony Scott : The Top Gun of action movies

The 68-year-old Tony Scott died this Sunday after jumping from a Los Angeles County bridge. It was a puzzling end for a filmmaker who had maintained a busy pace, with a sequel to Top Gun, his biggest hit, in the works.

hollywood Updated: Aug 21, 2012 17:10 IST
Tony Scott,Top Gun,Days of Thunder

Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as Top Gun, Days of Thunder and Beverly Hills Cop II, and the brother of producer-director Ridley Scott, died on Sunday after jumping from a Los Angeles County Bridge, authorities said.

Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide, Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said.

The 68-year-old Scott jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles, authorities said.

Scott's black Toyota Prius was parked on one of the eastbound lanes of the bridge.

According to witnesses, Tony jumped off the bridge in San Pedro Sunday afternoon. The Los Angeles Times earlier reported that a suicide note was found in Scott's car. However, the paper later clarified that it was just a note listing the contact information.

Director Tony Scott (Photo: Getty Images)

A suicide note was later found in Tony's office, but its contents were not revealed.

Simon Halls, a publicist who represents the Scott brothers, confirmed the death.

"The family asks for privacy during this time," Halls said.

Tony Scott became a household name in 1986 as director of the mega-hit Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. He followed that up with the Eddie Murphy action movie, Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987. Other Scott films include True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino, The Fan, with Robert De Niro, and Enemy of the State, starring Will Smith.

Tony Scott's most recent movies were "Unstoppable" and "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3". (AP Photo)

The British-born Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was producer and director Ridley Scott’s younger brother.

Despite blockbuster success on some of his own movies, Tony Scott was always overshadowed by his brother, a three-time directing nominee at the Oscars whose films include Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise and this summer's Prometheus.

Tony Scott never was in the running for an Oscar, and critics often slammed his movies for his hyper-kinetic style and an emphasis on 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.

The Scott brothers: Director Tony Scott with Ridley Scott(Photo: Getty Images)

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.

Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, was one of the highest-grossing films of 1986. Scott teamed with Cruise again four years later on the hit Days of Thunder.

Scott frequently worked with Denzel Washington, most recently on the runaway train drama Unstoppable. The pair collaborated on four other films: Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, Deja Vu and The Taking of Pelham 123.

Scott vaulted into Hollywood's top ranks the with Top Gun, followed by Beverly Hills Cop II, both with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Completed in 1963, the 6,060-foot Vincent Thomas Bridge links rises 185 feet at its highest point above the Los Angeles Harbor. Many have taken their lives by jumping from the span.

Director Tony Scott with wife Donna and sons, Max and Franc (Photo: Getty Images)

The director is survived by his wife, Donna Scott and two sons, Max and Frank. He married Donna in 1994. He has been married twice before; to Gerry Scott (1967–1974) and Glynis Sanders (1986–1987).

Tony Scott said he gained perspective by mixing things up between film, TV and commercials. "I like changing the pace of my life, changing my discipline," he said in a 2007 interview. "It gives me ideas for how to see the world differently."

Tony Scott in his signature red, baseball cap.

No one ever mistook Tony Scott for a great dramatist. He was a director critics loved to hate for his slick barrage of images at the expense of story. The filmmaker did not dazzle the imagination with visions of lost or alien worlds, like brother Ridley Scott.

Tony Scott was as populist as they come in Hollywood, a man of action films, pure and simple. From Tom Cruise as a daring fly boy in 1986's "Top Gun" to Denzel Washington mutinying against an unstable captain in 1995's "Crimson Tide" or trying to slow a runaway train in 2010's "Unstoppable," director Scott mastered sky, sea and earth in the name of movie adrenaline.

Hollywood is extremely grieved by the loss of one of its favourite directors. Here is what Hollywood celebs have tweeted:

Duncan Jones @ManMadeMoon

Just heard about Tony Scott news. Horrible... Tony was a truly lovely man who took me under his wing & ignited my passion to make films. Awww Tony. Wish you had felt there was a way to keep going. What a sad waste. My thoughts go out to his wife and beautiful children.

Lee Unkrich @leeunkrich

Shocked to hear about Tony Scott's suicide. Terrible news.

James Gunn @JamesGunnn

RIP Tony Scott. Damn. He was a huge inspiration. Very sad.


ugh! i am a HUGE tony Scott fan. that is horrible news. RIP.

The Indian film fraternity is also mourning the loss of the cinematic giant that Tony Scott was. Bollywood celebs have been tweeting their shock and grief.

Madhur Bhandarkar @mbhandarkar268

Shocked to hear about my favourite THE UNSTOPPABLE Filmmaker Tony Scott demise, also known for TOP GUN,BEVERLY HILLS COP,TRUE ROMANCE. RIP.

Sonam Kapoor @sonamakapoor

This is so sad.. He was one of my fav filmmakers. RT @cnnbrk: Filmmaker Tony Scott, director of "Top Gun," dies. (sic)
One of Tony Scott's most memorable movies, Tom Cruise starrer Top Gun.

Shekhar Kapur @shekharkapur
RIP Director #TonyScott (Top Gun) commits suicide. What a great n successful talent. 2 wonderful kids.

Karan Johar @kjohar25
RIP TONY SCOTT....your true romance with cinema will live on forever....

Ronit Roy @RonitBoseRoy
What!! Tony scott jumps of a bridge to his death!!! Shocking! Why? Does anyone have details?

Ranvir Shorey @RanvirShorey
Shocked to read about Tony Scott. The mysteries of the human heart. #RIP #wtf

Sujoy Ghosh @sujoy_g
how much I learnt from watching films of TONY SCOTT. no body blended style and pace better..

Ehsaan Noorani @EhsaanSEL
Tony Scott has gone into the light too ....... whats going on

Siddharth @Actor_Siddharth
Terrible news about Tony Scott ending his own life…big fan of his big ticket Hollywood pictures…what a way to go! Sad.

Atul kasbekar @atulkasbekar
Dir Tony Scott passed away. Huge Filmography but if u haven't seen 'True Romance', do yourself a favour n see it asap. Pure Genius.

Scott's filmography

The Hunger (1983)
Top Gun (1986)
Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Revenge (1990)
Days of Thunder (1990)
The Last Boy Scout (1991)
True Romance (1993)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Fan (1996)
Enemy of the State (1998)
Spy Game (2001)
Man on Fire (2004)
Domino (2005)
Déjà Vu (2006)
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
Unstoppable (2010)

(With inputs from IANS and AP)

First Published: Aug 20, 2012 09:54 IST