Wow! This is what I woke up to this morning…
Tony Scott, brother of Ridley Scott, and director of Hollywood hits such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Unstoppable, died Sunday at age 68. According to the LAPD, the British-born filmmaker jumped to his death from the Vincent Thomas bridge near Long Beach, California. According to officials, the director climbed a fence on the south side of the bridge and leapt off around 12:30 pm. Police reportedly found a suicide note inside Scott’s black Toyota Prius, which was parked on the bridge. His identity was confirmed around 7 p.m. by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Scott and his older brother Ridley were partners in Scott Free Productions.
Like I said, wow!
Tony Scott has directed 4 of the most prominent black star actors of the last 30 years – Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop II), Will Smith (Enemy Of The State), Wesley Snipes (The Fan), and of course Denzel Washington, whom he's worked with quite a lot actually; let me count the films – Crimson Tide, Man On Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Unstoppable.
His last 3 directed films starred Denzel Washington.
And I should further note that of the 16 feature films he directed over the course of his career, since his 1971 debut, Loving Memory, 9 of them featured black male leads; that's more than half. In addition to the 8 I already mentioned above, there also was The Last Boy Scout, which Damon Wayans co-starred in with Bruce Willis.
Especially known for his hyper-kinetic visual style, and often criticized for what critics felt was an emphasis on style over substance, Scott likely wasn't ever really chasing Oscar glory. His films, on average, did well at the box office; they've grossed over $2 billion worldwide (adjusted for inflation, it's likely closer or more than $3 billion).
Of all his films, a few of my faves include Man On Fire, Crimson Tide, and Beverly Hills Cop II.
I'll spend my working day today rewatching all his films – a Tony Scott retrospective, and maybe write about them throughout the week.
May his soul rest in peace.