‘Unstoppable’ director Tony Scott commits suicide in L.A.

Scott was reportedly working on a sequel to ‘Top Gun’ at the time of his death

Tony Scott with Denzel Washington on set of 'Man on Fire'
Tony Scott with Denzel Washington on set of ‘Man on Fire’

The Vincent Thomas bridge is a suspension bridge in Los Angeles, connecting San Pedro with Terminal Island, crossing the Los Angeles Harbor.  On Sunday, August 19, 2012 around 12:30 in the afternoon, director Tony Scott jumped to his death from the bridge, leaving a note in his Prius parked on the bridge that include contact information.

A suicide note was later found in his office.

There was no public hint of any problems going on in Scott’s life at the time of his suicide.  There are reports he had been working on a sequel to his 1986 hit Top Gun, a sequel that has been years in the making.  There are also reports that Tom Cruise had been doing research for the film at a Navy facility.  Scott, who most recently directed Unstoppable in 2010, had been doing quite a bit of producing in recent years, including The Grey, the TV series The Good Wife and some documentaries.  In addition to the planned Top Gun sequel, he was also set to direct Emma’s War.

Tony Scott dead at 68
Tony Scott dead at 68

Born in North Shields, near the river Tyne in North East England, Scott followed in the footsteps of his older brother Ridley in attending art school, before enrolling in the Royal College of Art.  His plan was to become a painter but Ridley was already achieving success in directing and he pushed Tony in that direction.  His first works were commercials and he directed many of them, earning enough to buy a Ferrari within a year of starting to direct projects for his brother.

This led to overtures from Hollywood and that led to his taking on The Hunger, a vampire film with great visuals that became a cult favorite.  However, it did poorly at the box office and with critics and Scott was forced to return to directing commercials for several years.  Until Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer saw a Saab commercial Scott had directed where a Saab Turbo vehicle is seen racing a Saab fighter jet. The producing duo then signed up Scott to helm Top Gun, which turned into one of the highest grossing films of 1986.

He went on to direct RevengeDays of ThunderThe Last Boy Scout and True Romance, from a Quentin Tarrantino script, in the early 1990s.  While The Fan did not do well with fans or critics, other movies he did in the mid to late 1990s did, including Enemy of the State and Crimson Tide.

The new century brought Scott to Man on Fire and Spy Game, followed by an unusual film Domino starring Kiera Knightley playing the real-life Domino Harvey.  Scott has a fascination for the story of Harvey and spent years developing the project into a feature film.  Deja Vu with Denzel Washington followed, marking his third collaboration with Washington, who he would direct again in The Taking of Pelham 123 remake and in Unstoppable.

Scott was 68 years of age at the time of his death.  Witnesses on the bridge said that he did not hesitate at all, going to the rail and just leaping to his death.  RIP.

Brian Milinsky

Brian Milinsky has served in the military, been an FM D.J. and an award-winning radio news reporter/anchor/writer/editor. He is presently a screenwriter and currently lives in Los Angeles.

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