Tony Scott, the director of Hollywood hits such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Unstoppable, died Sunday at age 68, his publicist has confirmed to EW. According to the Los Angeles Police Department’s harbor division, the British-born filmmaker jumped to his death from the Vincent Thomas bridge near Long Beach, Calif.
According to officials, the director climbed a fence on the south side of the bridge and leapt off around 12:30 p.m. Police reportedly found a suicide note inside Scott’s black Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge. His identity was confirmed around 7 p.m. by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
Scott and his older brother Ridley (the Oscar-nominated director of films like Alien, Gladiator, and Prometheus) were partners in Scott Free Productions, the company behind the CBS drama The Good Wife as well as A&E’s four-hour medical thriller Coma, due to air next month. Tony Scott, whose last film was the 2010 runaway-train thriller Unstoppable with Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, had been developing a sequel to his 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun.
Born in Northumberland, England, Tony Scott graduated from London’s Royal College of Art and made a name for himself as a director of TV commercials, most for his brother’s company, before directing his breakout feature, the 1983 vampire thriller The Hunger starring Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie. He followed that with the mega-blockbuster Top Gun and a string of successful commercial hits that often bore his slick visual stamp: lots of smoke, shafts of light bursting through windows, and very quick cuts.
Known for wearing a red baseball cap, Scott worked frequently with some of the biggest box office draws of the last three decades, including Cruise (Top Gun and Days of Thunder), Will Smith (Enemy of the State), and Washington (Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3).
(Additional reporting by Grady Smith)