LOS ANGELES – Tony Scott loved fast cars, riding fast motorcycles and creating some of the most memorable action sequences of the past quarter century. He was even planning a sequel to his hit Top Gun.
Yet, on Sunday, police were removing the director’s body from Los Angeles Harbor hours after they say he stopped his car on the towering Vincent Thomas Bridge and jumped.
His death stunned friends and fans and left Hollywood buzzing about what could have prompted one of the industry’s more successful filmmakers to take an 18-story leap to his death. An autopsy and notes he left for loved ones could help investigators Monday as they hunt for answers.
The bridge is a favorite filming location for other action directors, although the 68-year-old Scott apparently never used it for one of his films.
Scott, an avid rock climber, directed more than 15 movies, which included such unforgettable sequences as the dog fights of Top Gun and the raw power of a runaway train in Unstoppable.
As a director and producer, Scott worked with Hollywood’s top actors, including Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Robert Redford and helped influence a generation of action buffs.
Cruise, who starred in Top Gun and confirmed he was working with Scott on a sequel this year, said he’d lost a dear friend. He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable, Cruise wrote in a statement. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time.
Notes to loved ones were found in his car and another location, Coroner’s Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said. The death was being treated as a probable suicide, however an autopsy was scheduled for Monday and an official determination may take several days.
The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time, said Simon Halls, a spokesman for Scott and his older brother, Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott.
The brothers frequently collaborated on movies and their company also produced the successful TV series Numb3rs and The Good Wife. CBS, which aired both shows, said one of the brightest lights in the industry has gone out.