Director’s Death

10.22.12

Antidepressant, Sleep Aid Found in Director Tony Scott’s Body

Director Tony Scott had an antidepressant and sleep medication in his system when he plunged off an L.A. bridge in August, say coroner’s officials, who ruled Monday he died of multiple blunt-force injuries. Christine Pelisek reports.

British director Tony Scott had therapeutic levels of Mirtazapine, an antidepressant, and Lunesta, a sleep aid, in his system when he leaped off a Los Angeles bridge in August, coroner officials said Monday. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled the 68-year-old Top Gun director’s death a suicide and said he died of multiple blunt-force injuries.

But the preliminary findings don’t make the motive for Scott’s suicide any clearer. After his death, friends found a detailed suicide note at his office and police discovered a letter with contact numbers in his black Toyota Prius, but the contents of the notes were never made public. ABC News reported that the director was suffering from inoperable brain cancer, though there were no public reports of health problems. On Monday, chief coroner spokesman Craig Harvey said Scott had no underlying health problems and there was “no anatomic evidence of neoplasia [cancer] identified.” The results of the coroner’s autopsy will not be available for two more weeks.

Scott, who was known for his trademark red baseball cap, and his 74-year-old brother, Prometheus director Ridley Scott, had been producing the hit CBS drama The Good Wife at the time of his death. The two men were also working together on Killing Lincoln, based on the bestseller by Bill O’Reilly.

Just two days before he plummeted to his death, Scott had met with Tom Cruise to discuss a sequel to their 1986 hit Top Gun. The men toured the Fallon U.S. Naval Air Station in Nevada, where the real Top-Gun pilots train.

Cruise, who was reportedly devastated by Scott’s death, said at the time in a statement: “Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him. He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Around 12:35 p.m. on Aug. 19, Scott drove onto the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans the port city of San Pedro and Terminal Island, and parked at the bridge’s highest point, officials said. Witnesses reported that the director got out of his car and climbed the 10-foot fence on the south side of the bridge before plunging 185 feet into the cold murky water below. Los Angeles harbor patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Los Angeles port police were able to pinpoint Scott’s location by using underwater sonar equipment regularly used to find explosives, and after they discovered his sneakers floating in the water.

Scott was no stranger to the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the fourth largest suspension bridge in California. In a 2009 interview with Rotten Tomatoes about his plans to do a remake of Warriors, Scott spoke about why he planned to switch the movie location from New York to Los Angeles. “It’s a city which is horizontal,” he said. “New York is vertical, all skyscrapers, and Los Angeles is horizontal. I’m hoping to get 100,000 real gang members standing on the Vincent Thomas Bridge for one shot.”

Los Angeles harbor patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Los Angeles port police were able to pinpoint Scott’s location by using underwater sonar equipment used to find explosives.

Scott had recently finished shooting the drama Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale. He had risen to fame after directing his debut film, 1983’s vampire movie The Hunger, starring Catherine Deneuve and rocker David Bowie.

He lived in Beverly Hills with his third wife, actress-model Donna Wilson, and their two sons.