Director Tony Scott, best known for the films Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II, died in an apparent suicide Sunday when he jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, a Los Angeles County coroner official said. “There’s nothing to indicate it is anything else at this time,” said Lt. Joe Bale of the coroner’s office. Scott, 68, jumped from the bridge at about 12.30pm, Bale said. The bridge spans the Los Angeles Harbor, connecting San Pedro and Terminal Island. A passerby who saw Scott jump from the bridge called 911, according to a statement released by the coroner’s office late Sunday.
“The LA Port Police recovered the body from the water,” the statement said. The coroner’s office declined to comment or confirm a Los Angeles Times report that authorities found contact information in Scott’s car parked on the bridge, and later found a suicide note in his office.
Born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944, Tony – as he was known – got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott’s film Boy and Bicycle. In 1995, the two joined forces to create the production company, Scott Free Productions.
Simon Halls, a publicist who represents the Scott brothers, confirmed the death. “The family asks for privacy during this time,” Halls said.
Tony Scott became a household name in 1986 as director of the mega-hit Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. He followed that up with the Eddie Murphy action movie, Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987.
Actor Michael Rapaport, who was directed by Scott in True Romance, took to Twitter to praise the director. In one post, he said there hasn’t been a day since the movie was released in 1993 that someone doesn’t tell him how much they loved the movie.
“Tony Scott was a sweet enthusiastic & loving man,” Rapaport wrote. Scott cemented his reputation for big-budget action films with 1990’s Revenge starring Kevin Costner and Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise. In 1998, he directed Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman.
It was on the set of Days of Thunder where Scott met actress Donna Wilson, who he married in 1994. They had twin sons.
Reaction to Scott’s death poured out through Twitter, with directors, actors and fans mourning the news.
Scott directed his last film, the train thriller Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington, in 2010.
“He wasn’t a showy kind of guy,” longtime entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf told CNN.
Scott was often seen sporting a frayed, faded red ball cap on the movie sets and at red carpet premieres.
The ball cap, Wolf said, was his trademark.
While Scott’s movies garnered box office success, they never received the acclaim that generated Academy Award nominations.
Among his last projects was serving as an executive producer on the TV miniseries, Coma, which is due to air this year.