Tony Scott, the director of “Top Gun” and production partner of brother Ridley Scott, died yesterday after jumping from a bridge near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. He was 68.
Authorities found a note in the car Scott drove onto the bridge, Los Angeles County Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said in an interview. He jumped around 12:30 p.m. local time yesterday and his body was retrieved about 3 p.m., Bale said.
“At this point, we are investigating this as a suicide,” Bale said. “There is nothing to lead us to believe otherwise.”
British-born Scott is best known for directing “Top Gun,” the 1986 movie that stars Tom Cruise as a daredevil naval aviator who attends an elite flight school. His directing credits also include “Man on Fire” and 2009’s “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.” He was a partner with his older brother in Scott Free Productions, which makes television’s “The Good Wife,” a legal drama on CBS, and dozens of films, according to Imdb.com.
“The family asks that their privacy be respected at this time,” his publicist, Simon Halls, said in an e-mail.
Scott jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, according to Bale, a 1,500-foot-long suspension bridge that crosses Los Angeles Harbor, linking the San Pedro section of Los Angeles with Terminal Island and the Port of Long Beach. The bridge is about 185 feet above the navigation channel.
ABC News reported today that the director had inoperable brain cancer, citing a source close to the family. Scott’s family was unaware of any such illness, the network’s website reported later, citing an interview with Ed Winter, an official with the county coroner’s office, by its Los Angeles station.
Halls, Scott’s spokesman, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the report sent by Bloomberg News.
Scott left a suicide note at his office and a second note in his car with a list of people to contact, Winter, the coroner’s office assistant chief for investigations, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. An autopsy was planned today, he said.
‘Top Gun 2’
The Hollywood Reporter said in April that Scott would direct “Top Gun 2,” with Cruise reprising his role as Maverick and Jerry Bruckheimer repeating as producer, citing Paramount Pictures executive Adam Goodman. Cruise toured a Naval Air Station near Fallon, Nevada, last week preparing to film the sequel, local television station KOLO-TV reported on its website Aug. 17.
“Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him,” Cruise said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. “He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable.”
Anthony David Scott was born on June 21, 1944, in North Shields, England, an industrial coastal town in the northeast part of the country, according to Imdb. At 16, he starred in “Boy and Bicycle,” the first filmmaking effort of his brother Ridley, seven years his elder, according to the website.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, Scott directed thousands of television commercials, mostly working for Ridley Scott, according to Imdb.
Tony Scott’s first feature film, “The Hunger,” was a critical and commercial disappointment. He waited three years to direct “Top Gun,” which cemented Cruise’s status as a major star and established Scott as a director known for exquisitely choreographed action. He went on to make movies including “Crimson Tide” in 1995, “Enemy of the State” in 1998 and “Man on Fire” in 2004.
Scott Free, the brothers’ London-based production company, lists more than 30 movie credits, including 2010’s “Cyrus” and “American Gangster,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Denzel Washington, another actor often cast by Tony Scott.
Tony Scott had more than 30 projects in development, mostly as producer, according to Imdb. His unexpected death comes with several directing projects in the works. In addition to “Top Gun 2,” those include “Narco Sub,” a nuclear thriller scheduled for release in 2013 by News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, “Emma’s War,” about a British aid worker in Sudan, and “Hell’s Angels,” about the motorcycle gang, according to the website.
Twice divorced, Scott married his current wife, actress Donna W. Scott, in 1994. The couple has two children, according to Imdb.com.