'Top Gun' director dies after jumping off bridge
CORRECTS WORD OFF IN SECOND SENTENCE -- FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2010 file photo, director Tony Scott arrives at the premiere of "Unstoppable" in Los Angeles. Authorities say Scott died after jumping off a bridge in Los Angeles on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tony Scott, director of such Hollywood hits as "Top Gun," ''Days of Thunder" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," died Sunday after jumping from a Los Angeles County bridge, authorities said.
The 68-year-old Scott's death was being investigated as a suicide, Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Joe Bale said.
"I can confirm that Tony Scott has passed away. The family asks that their privacy is respected at this time," Scott's spokesman, Simon Halls, said in a statement.
Several people called 911 around 12:35 p.m. to report that someone had jumped from the Vincent Thomas Bridge spanning San Pedro and Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbor, according to Los Angeles police Lt. Tim Nordquist.
A dive team with Los Angeles Port Police pulled the body from the murky water several hours later, Nordquist said. Scott's body was taken to a dock in Wilmington and turned over to the county coroner's office.
One lane of the eastbound side of the bridge was closed to traffic during the investigation. Cargo vessels moved at reduced speeds through the east side of the port's main channel during the search, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
Investigators found a note in Scott's black Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge, according to the Los Angeles Times. That note listed contact information. A suicide note was later found at his office.
The British-born Scott, who lived in Beverly Hills, was producer and director Ridley Scott's younger brother. Distinct visual styles mark both siblings' films — Ridley Scott mastering the creation of entire worlds with such films as "Gladiator," ''Blade Runner," ''Alien" and this year's "Prometheus," Tony Scott known for hyper-kinetic action and editing on such films as his most recent, the runaway train thriller "Unstoppable," starring regular collaborator Denzel Washington.
Scott was a thrill-seeker himself in his personal life, an avid rock climber who also liked driving fast cars and motorcycles. Still, filmmaking was his real thrill.
"The biggest edge I live on is directing. That's the most scary, dangerous thing you can do in your life," Scott said in an interview for his 1995 naval adventure "Crimson Tide." ''The scariest thing in my life is the first morning of production on all my movies. It's the fear of failing, the loss of face and a sense of guilt that everybody puts their faith in you and not coming through."
Tony was the first of the Scott brothers to enjoy blockbuster success with "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise, the top-grossing film of 1986 at $176 million. Scott teamed with Cruise again four years later on the hit "Days of Thunder." He also had a sequel to "Top Gun" in development.