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Film News: ‘Top Gun,’ ‘True Romance’ Director Tony Scott Dies at 68
LOS ANGELES – Director Tony Scott, the high octane helmsman of “Top Gun” (1986), “True Romance” (1993), “Enemy of the State” (1998) and the recent “Unstoppable” (2010), died on Sunday of an apparent suicide. Los Angeles officials say that Scott jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California. He was 68.
Tony Scott directed many of best action movies of the 1980s and ‘90s, putting memorable spins on genres such as military, car racing, thrillers, spy and disaster movies. Admirers constantly reference dialogue from his unforgettable “True Romance,” and the pulse of his most notable films was rapid and elemental. He worked with actors as diverse as Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Eddie Murphy, James Gandofini, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Susan Sarandon, John Travolta and Dennis Hopper.
Photo Credit: Rico Torres for Columbia Pictures
Anthony David “Tony” Scott was born in 1944 in North Shields, Northumberland, England, the youngest of three sons. When he was 16 years old, he appeared in “Boy and Bicycle,” the first short film of his 23 year-old brother Ridley Scott. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, he joined his brother’s production company, Ridley Scott Associates. After doing thousands of television commercials, he directed his first narrative work in 1975, an adaptation for French television of the Henry James story, “The Author of Beltraffio.”
His first major directorial effort was the vampire film, “The Hunger” (1983). Although the reviews were not favorable, the film has gained a cult status for its subject and cast (David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon). Scott’s breakthrough came with “Top Gun,” a mega-hit that cemented the career of Tom Cruise. What followed was a string of high-profile hits, including “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987), ‘Days of Thunder,” “Crimson Tide,” “Enemy of the State,” “Man on Fire” (2004) and the remake of “The Taking of Pelham 123” (2009).
Scott was also a producer of note, including HBO’s “RKO 281” (1999), “In Her Shoes” (2005), “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007), “Cyrus” (2010), “Prometheus” (2012) and the television shows “Numb3rs,” “The Pillars of the Earth” and the CBS hit, “The Good Wife.”
Tony Scott was married three times, and is survived by his wife and collaborator Donna W. Scott, and their twin sons.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Home Video
In what is considered his most significant film, “True Romance” – featuring an screenplay by Quentin Tarantino – there is a bit of dialogue that might just sum up the mercurial life and sudden death of Tony Scott. “And til this day, the events that followed all still seems like a distant dream. But the dream was real and was to change our lives forever. I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he’d say, ‘that’s the way it goes, but don’t forget, it goes the other way too.’ That’s the way romance is… Usually, that’s the way it goes, but every once in awhile, it goes the other way too.”