Calls himself a “bull.”
Before his death, Tony Scott spoke out about his brother, Ridley, and their upbringing in a previously unpublished interview. “He’s a bull, and I am too,” Scott said about his brother. “Nothing takes him down. We have enormous pain resistance.” The interview gives insight into the family’s home life, with Scott saying that they had “no interest” in education and that the pair’s artistic interests came as a shock to their father. But Scott offered no complaints about his childhood. “We had a brilliant upbringing … we were a very, very tight family.” The interview will be published in the Aug. 27 edition of The Hollywood Reporter.
Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott pushed his younger brother into filmmaking, and the two enjoyed one of the most collaborative and lucrative sibling partnerships in Hollywood history. Chris Lee on the Scotts’ brotherly bond.
Tony Scott directed high-decibel, testosterone-pulsed movies—Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Unstoppable—typically focused around action heroes who charge hard, die hard, and drive full throttle. They are guys who take matters into their own hands and battle long odds, operating often as unstoppable forces of destiny. The director, 68, apparently took fate into his own hands, scaling a fence to plunge 185 feet to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles harbor Sunday afternoon. His death is being investigated as a suicide.
Directors Tony and Ridley Scott of Scott Free Productions pose with The Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment backstage during the BAFTA Los Angeles 2010 Britannia Awards (Todd Williamson / Getty Images)
On Monday, expressions of grief poured in from across Hollywood. “Tony Scott as a friend and mentor was irreplaceable,” director Joe Carnahan wrote on Twitter. Writer-director Richard Kelly, who wrote the screenplay for Scott’s 2007 thriller, Domino, tweeted Monday: “Working with Tony Scott was like a glorious road trip to Vegas on desert back roads, a wild man behind the wheel, grinning.”
Tom Cruise, who stars in Top Gun and was working with Scott on a planned sequel to that 1986 worldwide blockbuster, said in a statement Monday: “Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him. He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable.”
Scott’s brother, Sir Ridley Scott—an acclaimed auteur responsible for such classic films as Alien, Blade Runner, and this summer’s sci-fi thriller, Prometheus—was sighted at London’s Heathrow Airport, appearing visibly distraught as he boarded a Los Angeles-bound plane.
Tony Scott’s death marks not only the loss of one of filmdom’s most consummate blockbuster moviemakers, a swaggering, larger-than-life figure widely admired in a fickle industry. It provides a sad coda to the director’s 44-year business partnership with Ridley that has resulted in thousands of TV commercials, scores of music videos, and numerous feature films produced under the banner of their shared companies Scott Free Productions and RSA. Maneuvering in the advertising and film worlds together, the Scotts operated as one of the most collaborative sibling tag-teams in all of pop culture. They created a unique synergy that compelled humongous budgets for their respective films, a lucrative—and unprecedented—tandem distribution deal with 20th Century Fox and an ownership stake in Britain’s historic Pinewood Shepperton Studio.
Born in industrial North Shields, England, to a working-class family, Tony Scott made his first mark in movies at age 16, appearing in Boy and Bicycle, a short film directed by Ridley, his elder by six years. Big bro would continue to offer key advice and career guidance for the rest of Tony’s life, while Tony would provide a kind of ballast for Ridley’s creativity and relentless ambition.
After studying at several of the same schools Ridley attended, Tony enrolled at London’s Royal College of Art, where he made a movie for the British Film Institute at his brother’s urging. “Ridley gave me an Ambrose Bierce short story and said, ‘If you’re interested in doing a film, see if you can beg, borrow or steal a Bolex camera,’” Tony recalled to the U.K.’s Sunday Times Magazine in 2007.
As an autopsy is performed, questions remain as to why the director might have taken his own life. Christine Pelisek reports.
An autopsy was performed today on the body of famed British director Tony Scott, who plunged to his death from a Los Angeles bridge Sunday. Although his death is widely believed to have been a suicide, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said the cause of death has been deferred until toxicology tests are completed, which could take up to six or eight weeks.
Director Tony Scott on set of The Fan, 1996. (Everett Collection)
“The cause of death has been deferred pending the receipt of additional test results that have been requested by the Deputy Medical Examiner,” said Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey in a statement.
Scott, 68, left a letter with contact numbers in his black Toyota Prius and a detailed suicide note in his Los Angeles office that was discovered by his friends, according to the coroner’s office. “His friends found a note in his office and we found a note with names and contact numbers in his vehicle,” said Ed Winter, a deputy chief coroner. The content of the suicide note has not yet been released.
Questions still remain as to why the director of such movies as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, and The Taking of Pelham 123 took his own life. ABC News reported on Monday that a source close to the director said Scott was suffering from inoperable brain cancer but there have been no public reports of health problems.
Scott’s longtime publicist Simon Halls said the reports that his client had cancer were speculation. “A sweet sweet man has passed away, the father of two boys, and his family is asking for privacy,” he said.
Harvey, the chief coroner investigator, also debunked the cancer claim to the Daily Beast: "The family told us that there was no truth to the story." In addition to looking at Scott’s toxicology results, deputy chief coroner Winter said they are going to look at his past medical history in hopes of finding out why he might have taken his own life.
Around 12:35 p.m. on Sunday, Scott drove his black Toyota Prius onto the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans across the port city of San Pedro and Terminal Island, and parked at the bridge’s highest point, officials said. Witnesses reported that Scott got out of his car and climbed the 10-foot-high 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.
Late director’s wife says.
After numerous outlets reported that filmmaker Tony Scott, who jumped to his death from a Los Angeles bridge Sunday, suffered from inoperable brain cancer at the time of his death, the Top Gun director’s family is calling the rumors “absolutely false.” TMZ reports that Scott’s wife told investigators that there was no truth to the brain cancer report, and that her husband had no other severe medical issues that would have caused him to commit suicide.
Tony Scott may have been best known for his action-packed Hollywood blockbusters, but he was also an acclaimed ad man.
Before he introduced the world to Maverick and Goose, Tony Scott was just your average ad man—save for his exceptional talent. The director, who committed suicide, honed his creative skills at the advertising firm he founded with his filmmaker brother, Ridley Scott Associates. And he continued to team up with his famous sibling on ads throughout his career, directing the six inventive—and highly convincing—commercials featured here.
Marlboro Man Returns
From Top Gun to The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Tony Scott always had a mind for masculine heroics. So it was only fitting that, in 2003, the director would resurrect the embodiment of manliness: the Marlboro man.
BMW Wins Again
In a BMW drag race between James Brown, Marilyn Manson, and Clive Owen, it’s Scott who comes out the big winner. After this short promotional film for the luxury car company aired, the director rightfully took home a slew of awards, including the prestigious Cannes Titanium Lion.
Barclay’s Goes Big
Watch the most memorable scenes from the late filmmaker’s movies.
The 1983 horror film, which has since become a cult favorite, marked Tony Scott’s feature directorial debut. In the movie, Susan Sarandon stars as a doctor who embarks on a steamy ménage-a-trois with two vampires, played by David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. Watch the lesbian encounter that has helped the movie endure.
Scott’s classic 1986 flick about elite fighter pilots, the top-earning moving of 1986, famously stars a young Tom Cruise. The film boasts too many memorable scenes to choose just one, but here’s our pick.
Beverly Hills Cop II
In the 1987 Beverly Hills Cop sequel, Eddie Murphy returns as motormouthed Detroit detective Axel Foley, back in Beverly Hills to stir up trouble—and investigate a shooting. Watch Murphy fast talk his way out of an interrogation. Two words: Johnny Wishbone.
Days of Thunder
Scott and Cruise reunited in this high-speed 1990 flick, in which the Top Gun star plays a car-racing hotshot who finally gets his big break, alongside Nicole Kidman, who plays a brain surgeon trying to reign him in. The flick was hailed as “Top Gun on wheels,” and was the first of a series of movies that Cruise and Kidman would star in together. Watch the movie’s memorable final race.
Tony Scott, the veteran Hollywood director behind the celebrated hits ‘Top Gun,’ ‘True Romance,’ and ‘Crimson Tide,’ died Sunday after jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, Calif. Marlow Stern reflects on the British filmmaker’s legacy.
Hollywood lost one of its great showmen Sunday afternoon, as Tony Scott, the veteran British director behind the celebrated hits Top Gun, True Romance, and Crimson Tide, reportedly jumped to his death off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 68.
Alexandra Wyman / Getty Images
Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and Coast Guard officials recovered Scott’s body from the water. Law-enforcement officials said eyewitnesses saw Scott scale a fence on the bridge and jump off and also that a suicide note was retrieved in his office, the Times reported.
Channel 7 news also reported that onlookers saw Scott wearing his signature red pea baseball cap when he jumped. The director was usually seen sporting the cap, which he had purchased during the making of Top Gun, had become frayed due to wear and tear, and had faded from red to a pinkish hue.
Born Anthony David Scott in North Shields, England, he was the youngest of three children. His brother Ridley Scott, who is seven years his senior, would become a prolific director in his own right, helming the classics Alien and Blade Runner. The third brother was Frank, who died of cancer in 1980.
When Ridley was 23, Tony made an appearance in his older brother’s debut film, a short entitled Boy and Bicycle. Tony initially intended to be a painter, studying at Grangefield School, West Hartlepool College of Art, and the Sunderland art school before graduating from the Royal College of Art. After he saw how successful Ridley was with his TV-commercial production company, Ridley Scott Associates, Tony followed in his brother’s footsteps, directing hundreds of commercials for the company.
Tony Scott made his feature filmmaking debut with the 1983 atmospheric horror film The Hunger, starring David Bowie, which has since become a cult favorite thanks to its steamy on-screen lesbian encounter between actresses Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. The film was a critical and commercial flop, but producer Don Simpson reportedly stumbled on it while channel-surfing at 3 a.m. and, with partner Jerry Bruckheimer, hired Tony to direct their pet project, Top Gun (they were also both fans of a commercial he did for Saab showing a Saab 900 turbo racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet). Top Gun became one of the highest-grossing films of 1986, taking in $176 million in North America, and launched the career of its star, Tom Cruise. In the blink of an eye, Scott also vaulted to the A-list of action-film directors.
In many ways Tony Scott helped define the modern Hollywood blockbuster, with his trademark hyperkinetic camera, dazzling set pieces, booming orchestral scores, and A-list star power.
The British filmmaker, who helmed the Tom Cruise hit ‘Top Gun,’ parked his car, climbed a chain-link fence, and jumped to his death with ‘no hesitation,’ say Los Angeles police.
Top Gun director Tony Scott leaped to his death off a Los Angeles bridge on Sunday. According to police, a 911 caller reported that minutes before the 68-year-old British filmmaker committed suicide, he got out of his black Toyota Prius, climbed up a 10-foot-high chain-link fence, then jumped into the chilly, murky waters 185 feet below.
Film director Tony Scott speaks with actor Denzel Washington before shooting a scene for “Man on Fire” in 2003 in Mexico City. (Jose Luis Magana / AP Photo)
“There was no hesitation,” said Los Angeles Police Department officer David Shelton. “There was no negotiating him off the ledge.”
Scott, the younger brother of Sir Ridley Scott, the famed director of Alien and Blade Runner—jumped from the highest point of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans from the port city of San Pedro to Terminal Island, around 12:35 p.m. His car, parked on one of the eastbound lanes of the bridge, blocked traffic on the two-lane span until police had it towed.
It took close to three hours for divers from the Los Angeles port police and the Los Angeles Fire Department to find Scott’s body.
The L.A. Fire Department’s Armando Hogan said Coast Guard and fire department helicopters, as well as five fire department boats and two boats from the port of Los Angeles, using sonar aided in the search. Port police divers eventually located Scott’s body, which was found close to where he jumped, 60 feet below the surface. Hogan said they were able to pinpoint the location after “one of our boats spotted a pair of sneakers in the water.”
“He wasn’t too far from the area he jumped,” said Hogan. “He jumped from the equivalent of the top of the chain-link fence.”
According to news reports, law-enforcement officers found a suicide note in the director’s office.
'Top Gun' helmer jumps off Calif. bridge.
British director Tony Scott, director of Top Gun and The Taking of Pelham 123, and producer of The Good Wife, among many others, died Sunday. Scott, 68, brother of director Ridley Scott, jumped "without hesitation" to his death off the Vincent Thomas Bridge crossing Los Angeles Harbor at 12:30 p.m., according to coroner's officials. A suicide note was found in his Toyota Prius, parked on the bridge. His body was recovered by a Coast Guard dive team four hours later.
Watch the most memorable scenes from the late filmmaker’s movies.
The British director reportedly committed suicide on Sunday. Here, Scott discusses his film 'Man on Fire' with its star Denzel Washington and Charlie Rose.
See the A-list celebrities who shared their grief for the ‘Top Gun’ director.