British-born filmmaker Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood blockbusters as Top Gun and Crimson Tide, jumped to his death on Sunday from a bridge over Los Angeles Harbor, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said.
Onlookers saw Scott, who was 68, park his car on the Vincent Thomas Bridge and leap into the water below at about 12:30pm, according to Lieutenant Joe Bale, a watch commander for the coroner’s office.
Bale said the body was recovered by law enforcement from the harbor shortly before 3pm and was subsequently identified as being that of the filmmaker and younger brother of fellow movie director Ridley Scott.
Bale said there was no immediate evidence leading investigators to believe that Scott’s death was anything but a suicide. He said an autopsy had not yet been performed.
The Torrance Daily Breeze newspaper, citing a US Coast Guard official, reported in an online story that a suicide note was found inside Scott’s car, which was parked on the cable-suspension bridge.
The bridge, the surface of which clears the harbor’s navigation channel by a height of about 56m, connects the port district of San Pedro at the southern tip of Los Angeles to Terminal Island in the harbor.
A spokeswoman for the filmmaker, Katherine Rowe, said in a brief statement, “I can confirm that Tony Scott has indeed passed away,” adding only: “The family asks that their privacy be respected at this time.”
Scott, born in North Shields, Northumberland, England, and frequently seen behind the camera in his signature faded red baseball cap, is credited with directing more than two dozen movies and television shows and producing nearly 50 titles.
He was best known for his work on the 1986 fighter jet adventure Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise as a hot-shot pilot, and Crimson Tide, the 1995 submarine thriller co-starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.
His directing credits also include the 1987 Eddie Murphy comedy Beverly Hills Cop II, the 1990 racing drama Days of Thunder, which also featured Cruise, the 1998 espionage thriller Enemy of the State, which paired Hackman and Will Smith, and the 2010 runaway-train blockbuster, Unstoppable, which starred Washington again.
Washington appeared in two other Scott-directed pictures, his 2009 remake of The Taking of the Pelham 1 2 3, a subway hostage thriller that co-starred John Travolta, as well as the 2004 vengeance drama Man on Fire.
Scott and his older brother were executive producers together on two successful prime-time television dramas, Numb3rs, which ran on CBS from 2005 to 2010, and The Good Wife, which premiered in 2009 and is still running on CBS.
According to the Hollywood Web site Internet Movie Database, Tony Scott had been in production as the director of a film called Emma’s War, about a British aid worker in Sudan who marries a warlord seeking to control part of the country.