Tony Scott, director of Top Gun, True Romance and a host of other celebrated action movies, has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.
Tony was born in South Shields in 1944, one of three brothers. His first foray into the film business was as the star of his brother Ridley’s first short film, Boy and Bicycle. He would later go on to work closely with Ridley at RSA (Ridley Scott Associates), where he would learn his trade directing a number of commercials.
After his considerable success in the world of advertisements in the sixties and seventies, Hollywood would come calling in 1982, with MGM hiring Tony to direct The Hunger. Although a commercial failure, producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson saw enough of Tony’s talent in the film to hire him for Top Gun, one of the decade’s most successful and best-loved films.
The success of Top Gun made the rest of Hollywood take notice of Tony’s talents, and led to a string of other high-achieving blockbusters, such as Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, and True Romance, written by a young Quentin Tarantino.
Crimson Tide, the first of many successful collaborations with Denzel Washington, picked up three Academy Award nominations in 1996, and 1998’s Enemy of the State became Tony’s most commercially successful of the decade, grossing over $250million.
The 2000s saw Tony’s professional relationship with Denzel Washington really hit its stride, as a wave of action movies made by the pair were watched by cinemagoers in their millions. Man on Fire began the trend in 2004, followed by 2006’s Deja Vu, the 2009 remake of the Taking of Pelham 123, and Unstoppable, made in 2010.
Outside of film, Tony also found success in television as a producer, winning an Emmy for the television movie The Gathering Storm, and picking up nominations for the The Good Wife, The Pillars of the Earth, The Andromeda Strain and RKO 281.
Directors UK Chair Charles Sturridge paid the following tribute:
"Tony Scott was a brilliant British director with an extraordinary ability to create energy on screen, both in action and in the creation of character with films like True Romance, Man on Fire and Enemy of The State. He will be greatly missed"
Tony is survived by his wife, Donna Wilson Scott, and their twin sons, Frank and Max. Directors UK would like to offer our condolences to the family.
Photograph: Gus Ruelas/AP