Tony Scott: Maker of action films, including 'Top Gun' (+video)
Tony Scott, director of 'Top Gun,' 'Crimson Tide,' 'Enemy of the State,' and 'Man on Fire,' died Sunday. Police say the death of Tony Scott was being investigated as a suicide.
Los Angeles — No one ever mistook Tony Scott for a great dramatist. He was a director critics loved to hate for his slick barrage of images at the expense of story. The filmmaker did not dazzle the imagination with visions of lost or alien worlds, like brother Ridley Scott.
Tony Scott was as populist as they come in Hollywood, a man of action films, pure and simple. From Tom Cruise as a daring fly boy in 1986's "Top Gun" to Denzel Washington mutinying against an unstable captain in 1995's "Crimson Tide" or trying to slow a runaway train in 2010's "Unstoppable," director Scott mastered sky, sea and earth in the name of movie adrenaline.
It was a puzzling end for a filmmaker who had maintained a busy pace, with a sequel to "Top Gun," his biggest hit, in the works.
"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.
The younger brother of Ridley Scott, whose Roman epic "Gladiator" won best-picture at the Academy Awards for 2000, Tony Scott was partners with his sibling in a production company, collaborating on film, TV, and advertising projects.
But despite blockbuster success on some of his own movies, Tony Scott always was overshadowed by his brother, a three-time directing nominee at the Oscars whose films include "Alien," ''Blade Runner," ''Thelma and Louise" and this summer's "Prometheus."
Tony Scott never was in the running for an Oscar, and critics often slammed his movies for his hyper-kinetic style and an emphasis on style over substance.
Still, he was the first of the Scott brothers to enjoy blockbuster success with "Top Gun," the top-grossing film of 1986 at $176 million. Scott teamed with Cruise again four years later on the hit "Days of Thunder," and he made five films with Washington, including "Man on Fire," ''Deja Vu" and "The Taking of Pelham 123."
While Ridley Scott had an auspicious start to his film career with 1977's acclaimed period drama "The Duellists" and 1979's "Alien," Tony Scott bombed with his debut, 1983's supernatural romance "The Hunger," with David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.
The two brothers ran Scott Free Productions and were working jointly on a film called "Killing Lincoln," based on the best seller by Bill O'Reilly. Along with countless commercials, their company produced the CBS dramas "NUMB3RS" and "The Good Wife" as well as a 2011 documentary about the Battle of Gettysburg for the History Channel.
Tony Scott said he gained perspective by mixing things up between film, TV and commercials.
"I like changing the pace of my life, changing my discipline," he said in a 2007 interview. "It gives me ideas for how to see the world differently."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.