Tony Scott, the British-born director of such films as Enemy of the State, Man on Fire and Top Gun, died after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Suspension Bridge in Los Angeles on August 19th. It has been rumoured that the 68 year-old, who was the younger brother of fellow director Ridley Scott, was suffering from terminal cancer when he took his life.
Scott parked his car in the east-bound lane of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, about thirty miles south of his home in Beverly Hills, at 12.35pm on Sunday. He proceeded to scale the 8ft fence and, according to witnesses, showed ‘no hesitation’ as he leapt. He fell nearly 200ft into the water below, where he drowned despite an extensive search and rescue operation by the local police and coastguard. His body was recovered several hours later.
A note containing contact information for his wife, actress Donna Wilson, was found inside his car, and a suicide note was later discovered at his office. Scott is said to have been wearing his signature faded red baseball cap when he jumped.
Soon after his death, rumours began circulating about the state of Scott’s health. A source close to the director told ABC news that he was suffering from inoperable brain cancer, and that this may have been a factor in his suicide. Donna Wilson, who is the director’s third wife and mother of his 12 year-old twin boys Max and Frank, has reportedly denied these claims to police, saying they are ‘absolutely untrue’, and that she had no knowledge whatsoever of her husband being ill.
Tributes for the director, who was known for his work on classic action blockbusters, have been pouring in from all corners of the film world. Tom Cruise, with whom Scott worked on 1986’s Top Gun, has said ‘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.’
Cruise had recently begun preparing for his role in Top Gun 2, which was being written at the time of Scott’s death. The director has taken his life at a high point in his career, having just completed work on Out of the Furnace, a thriller starring Woody Harrelson and Christian Bale, on which he served as a producer. The loss of Tony Scott will be deeply felt by the film industry as a whole, and leave a large empty space in the Hollywood action genre.