Tony Scott, Director, Died at 68

  Dead Famous

Dead, Anthony David “Tony” Scott on the 19th of August 2012 after committing suicide by jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California; he was an English film director and producer.

Scott was born in North Shields on the 21st of June 1944, Tyne and Wear, the youngest of three sons of Colonel Francis Percy Scott, who served in the Royal Engineers, and Elizabeth.

He followed in his elder brother’s footsteps, studying at Grangefield School, West Hartlepool College of Art and Sunderland Art School, for a fine arts degree.

At the age of 16, he appeared in Boy and Bicycle, a short film marking the directorial debut of his 23-year-old brother Ridley.

Scott studied art in Leeds after failing to gain admission to the Royal College of Art in London at his first attempt.

He made a short film in 1969 based on the Ambrose Bierce story One of the Missing.

As Ridley had previously cast him in a film, he reciprocated by giving his brother a role too.

“The film cost ¬£1,000”, he recalled in April 2012.

Whilst at the Royal College of Art, where he was taught by Raymond Durgnat, he starred in “Don’t Walk”, a film by fellow students, Hank Onrust and Richard Stanley: the film credits state it was “made for BUNAC by MARCA films at the Royal College of Art”.

It was the success of his elder brother’s fledgling television commercial production outfit, Ridley Scott Associates (RSA) that subsequently diverted his attention to film.

His brother Ridley said, “Tony had wanted to do documentaries at first. I told him, ‘Don’t go to the BBC, come to me first.’ I knew that he had a fondness for cars, so I told him, ‘Come work with me and within a year you’ll have a Ferrari.’

And he did!” Scott said, “I was finishing eight years at art school, and Ridley had opened Ridley Scott Associates and said, ‘Come and make commercials and make some money’ because I owed money left and right and centre.”

He directed many television commercials for RSA while also overseeing the company’s operation while his brother was developing his feature film career.

In 1985, producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer approached Scott to direct Top Gun on the strength of The Hunger, as well as a commercial he had done for Swedish automaker Saab in the early 1980s, where a Saab 900 turbo is shown racing a Saab 37 Viggen fighter jet.

Scott, though reluctant at first, agreed to direct Top Gun. Though the film received mixed critical review, it became one of the highest-grossing films of 1986, taking in more than $350 million, and making a star of its young lead, Tom Cruise.

Sam Delaney of The Guardian writes: “By the mid-80s, Hollywood was awash with British directors who had ushered in a new era of blockbusters using the crowd-pleasing skills they’d honed in advertising.

Tony has worked five times with actor Denzel Washington with Crimson Tide (1995), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009), Deja Vu (2006), Man on Fire (2004) and Scott’s final film in the director’s chair Unstoppable (2010).