Film world stunned by death of director Tony Scott

HOLLYWOOD was in shock yesterday after the apparent suicide of the director and producer Tony Scott.

Scott, the director of Top Gun and the production partner of his brother, Ridley Scott, died after jumping from the Vincent Thomas Bridge over Los Angeles harbour on Sunday. He was 68.

Police told the Los Angeles Times that officials examined a car at the scene and determined that it belonged to Scott. A note listing contact information was inside. A suicide note was later found in his office. Its contents were not disclosed.

Sonar equipment was used to locate Scott's body in the murky waters of the harbour and it was recovered by divers.

''I can confirm that Tony Scott has indeed passed away,'' his publicist, Simon Halls, said in an email. ''The family asks that their privacy be respected at this time.''

There was no immediate explanation for why Scott, who grew up by the River Tyne in northern England and followed his older brother into advertising, then film, should have taken his own life.

Tributes immediately flowed on Twitter. ''No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day,'' the director Ron Howard tweeted. ''RIP Tony Scott. So sad to hear this,'' the documentary maker Morgan Spurlock said. ''We are absolutely devastated by the passing of director Tony Scott. He will be truly missed,'' Tribeca Film said in a statement.

The film director Duncan Jones, who directed Moon and Source Code, tweeted: ''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.'' Jones added: ''Awww Tony. Wish you had felt there was a way to keep going. What a sad waste. My thoughts go out to his wife and beautiful children.''

Scott is best known for directing Top Gun, the 1986 movie that starred Tom Cruise as a risk-taking flight-school cadet.

Rarely seen without his trademark red baseball cap, he had collaborated with Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Robert De Niro and Gene Hackman, among others, in action films and thrillers.

The Scott brothers ran Scott Free Productions and were working on a film called Killing Lincoln, based on the bestseller by Bill O'Reilly. Tony Scott was a producer on Ridley Scott's blockbuster Prometheus. One of their most recent productions was Coma, a medical thriller due for release next month on pay TV.

Four years after making Top Gun, Scott and Cruise worked together on the hit Days of Thunder, the film that brought together Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Scott frequently worked with Washington, most recently on the runaway train drama Unstoppable. Scott and Washington collaborated on four other films: Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006) and The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (2009). His other films include True Romance and The Last Boy Scout.

Scott was married to the actress Donna Scott. They have twin sons, Frank and Max.

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