You may not know Tony Scott by face, but doubtless you’ve seen his films: The 68-year-old director helmed classics like Top Gun as well as Man on Fire and The Taking of Pelham 123. Yesterday around 12:30 p.m. in Los Angeles, Scott jumped to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles. The LAPD worked for several hours to retrieve his body from the water; at the same time, police discovered a suicide note in his car parked near the bridge. It seems clear that this was intentional.
The news comes as an utter shock because Scott, though low-key in the Hollywood scene, was well-liked and successful. “He wasn’t a showy kind of guy,” one established entertainment reporter told CNN, but everyone knew him thanks to his sincere encouragement of his peers and his trademark red baseball cap. Director-producer Joe Carnahan (responsible for Liam Neeson‘s wolf-wrestling movie The Grey said on Twitter), “Tony always sent personal, handwritten notes & always drew a cartoon caricature of himself, smoking a cigar, with his hat colored in red.”
No one had any idea that Scott was suffering from depression, perhaps, or some other motivation to take his own life. In fact, Deadline reports that he was even actually planning a Top Gun sequel with Tom Cruise, who was recently spotted in Nevada as part of prep work. What’s ironic is that, in New York City at least, Scott’s name has been all over town lately: His project with brother Ridley Scott, the thriller miniseries Coma, will air on A&E on Labor Day.
But what weighs most heavily on our minds is the family that Scott left behind: His wife Donna Scott and their twin sons, seen above at the LA premiere of Unstoppable in 2010. My heart goes out to their family, and I hope that they can find peace as the LAPD investigates Scott’s death. Over today and this week we will see tributes to Scott from his Hollywood peers and the media, but for now I’d like to point you to my friend Danny Bowes’ blog for a touching personal tribute to Scott’s work and impact on film.