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Tony Scott: Hollywood mourns death of Top Gun director

Tony Scott, director of Deja Vu

Story by Jack Foley

HOLLYWOOD was in shock this morning (Monday, August 20, 2012) at the death of Top Gun director Tony Scott in an apparent suicide.

The British-born filmmaker and brother of Alien director Ridley reportedly died after jumping from a bridge in Los Angeles. He was 68.

The LA County Coroner’s office said it was treating the incident as a suicide.

Lt Joe Bale, from the coroner’s office, said Scott jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge, which spans San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles. He said the director was seen parking his car and jumping into the water at about 12:30 (19:30 GMT) on Sunday (August 19).

Scott’s body was recovered from the harbour less than three hours later.

News of the tragedy prompted a massive outpouring of grief among Hollywood’s creative community, as well as shock.

Director Ron Howard said on Twitter: “No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day.”

While Duncan Jones, director of Source Code and Moon who worked with Scott on some of his films, said: “Just heard about Tony Scott news. Horrible… Tony was a truly lovely man who took me under his wing & ignited my passion to make films.”

Born in Northumberland on June 21, 1944, Tony was quick to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Ridley, into making films, despite initially wanting to be a painter.

Indeed, he first appeared in Boy and Bicycle at the age of 16, a short film marking the directorial debut of his then 23 year-old brother. And it was his brother’s success that fuelled his passion for making films.

Scott subsequently shot to fame in the 1980s with a string of action films, including Top Gun, which launched the career of Tom Cruise. He was reported to be working on a sequel with Cruise at the time of his death.

The director’s other hits included Crimson Tide, Deja Vu, Man on Fire (all with Denzel Washington) as well as Beverly Hills Cop II, True Romance and Enemy of the State (with Will Smith).

He was famous for his fast-paced blockbusters and distinctive visual style that regularly involved the use of fast editing and digital effects.

Further tributes on Twitter have come from the likes of Stephen Fry, who wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear the news about Tony Scott. A fine film-maker and the most charming, modest man.”

And Peter Fonda, who Tweeted: “Wow! Such sadness. Tony Scott, brilliant film director died. Man On Fire! Great motion picture w/Denzel Washington.”