Director-producer Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott, has died at the age of 68 in an act of suicide. Officials say that Scott left a suicide note in his car, climbed over a fence on the Vincent Thomas Bridge near Long Beach, California, and jumped off.
Suicide is always tragic, and nearly always surprising. When it’s a celebrity, the tragic nature of it is the same, but the surprise factor always seems a little higher, especially when it’s a man like Scott, who had projects currently in production, such as the upcoming miniseries Coma. It’s easy to forget that success doesn’t necessarily render a person immune to depression or other problems.
Tony Scott was director of nearly two dozen films, and producer on nearly twice as many. His cinematic legacy includes Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, and Beverly Hills Cop II. He also directed the remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Man on Fire, and Spy Game. And, of course, Top Gun. He was rumored to have been looking into a sequel to his 1986 classic when he died.
I have personally yet to see many of his films, but there are several of his that I have been told are films I should. Many of his films are well-loved; most were major box-office successes. I had the pleasure of seeing Top Gun for the first time about ten years ago, when a local second-run theatre decided to have midnight matinees of older films for one summer. Seeing it on the big screen was a wonderful way to be introduced to it; it was easy to see how this film could inspire young men to join the Air Force. It was also easy to see how it cemented the futures of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer as A-list actors.
Mr. Scott, I don’t know why you felt you had to leave. I hope you find some solace on the other side. I wish we could have seen more from you.
UPDATE: It is now being reported that Tony Scott had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. This at least explains his decision, though it’s still just as tragic.