'Top Gun' Director Tony Scott Jumps to His Death From Bridge
Director Tony Scott, the action auteur behind such films as Top Gun and Crimson Tide, died Sunday after jumping off a bridge in what authorities are calling an apparent suicide. He was 68.
The Los Angeles County coroner's department confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that Scott's body was found after an apparent jump from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. The Los Angeles Times reports that contact information found inside Scott's Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge, led authorities to a suicide note in his office.
"We are treating this as a suicide investigation," a rep for the coroner's department tells THR.
The search for Scott's body involved officers with the port police, the LAPD and the California Highway Patrol as well as the Coast Guard and city firefighters, according to the Daily Breeze, which first reported the news. Authorities reportedly had to use sonar equipment because the water is so murky around the port. His body, which was found around 4:30 p.m. by a dive team, has reportedly been turned over to coroner officials.
Scott's death was confirmed to THR by his publicist Simon Halls, who provided no further details and requested that the family's privacy be respected.
The Englishman was seven years younger than his brother and partner in Scott Free Productions, three-time Oscar-nominated director Ridley Scott.
The Scott brothers produced this year's Prometheus, which was directed by Ridley and has so far grossed $327 million worldwide.
In 1985, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer signed Tony Scott to direct Top Gun, impressed by a commercial he had done for Swedish automaker Saab in the early 1980s in which a car races a fighter jet. Top Gun went on to gross $176 million domestic, rake in another $177 million overseas and cement the star power of Tom Cruise.
Scott reteamed with Simpson and Bruckheimer in 1987 to direct Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop II and in 1990 with the NASCAR-set Days of Thunder, again starring Cruise.
Scott directed five films starring Denzel Washington: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) and Unstoppable (2010).
His other films include The Hunger (1982), Revenge (1990), The Last Boy Scout (1991), True Romance (1993), The Fan (1996), Enemy of the State (1998) and Spy Game (2001).
The Scott brothers co-produced the CBS series Numbers, which aired from 2005-10, and served as executive producers on another CBS drama, The Good Wife.
Tony Scott was an exec producer on The Grey this year and an exec producer on Stoker, a movie Fox Searchlight is releasing next year starring Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman and written by Wentworth Miller.
The Scotts also executive produced Coma, a miniseries set to premiere Sept. 3 on A&E.
Scott, an avid rock climber and car collector, was one of the first filmmakers to make the transition from commercials to features. He directed thousands of TV spots spot for Ridley Scott Associates, the brothers' first company, formed in 1968.
But while his films usually featured a flurry of action -- be it centered on fighter jets in Top Gun, stock cars in Days of Thunder or trains in Pelham 1 2 3 or Unstoppable -- he always grounded that action in realism.
"My whole career I’ve always tried to avoid CGI, whether it’s planes, cars or trains," he said during an interview before the release of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. "It’s something in terms of the drama and the performances that give me a reality and more of an edge."
Survivors include Scott's third wife, North Carolina native Donna Scott, a model and actress who appeared in Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout and The Good Wife, among her husband's projects. The couple had twin boys, Frank and Max, born in 2000.
Borys Kit contributed to this report.