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What a shock. I woke up this morning to hear that Tony Scott leaped to his death off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.  It reminded me about Leslie Cheung’s death (he too, leaped to his death, but off the Mandarian Oriental Hotel in HK.) and how shocking that was.  He was still producing hit TV shows and films, still directing his fast-paced action films.  It begs the question, why?  Why would someone with still so much to offer, consciously, deliberately, kill himself?  We can’t assume anything at this point.  We can only remember what he left behind.

He gained a Hollywood calling card with “The Hunger,” and blasted onto the A list, with “Top Gun.”  Both films were sexy and stylish.  He has been criticized throughout his career for choosing style over substance, but hey, he was the director, not the writer, so for me, he tried to make the material look as good as possible.

Him and his brother Ridley, were some of the first feature directors to come from the world of commercials.  That is oh-so common nowdays, Rupert Sanders (“Snow White and the Huntsman”) a recent example.  Their stuff was so graphic and sexy, it perfectly fit the 80’s look.

A lot is being made about the brothers relationship, and how he never got the respect Ridley gets, but who really knows how much that factors into all of this.  Since he’s producing partners with is brother, I’m sure their relationship is peachy keen.  As for not getting as much respect… There are many “respected” filmmakers who are living off chips and salsa, right now, envying a fat paycheck.  I’m sure Tony was OK with being a good, if not great director.  Even if he didn’t have Ridley’s caché, he certainly influenced a whole generation of testosterone-filled, amped up action directors.

Smoke and shafts of light. A Tony Scott trademark.

One hot shot, a muscle jet, and American flag draped in the background. Over the top? Why not, it’s a Tony Scott film. How big was this movie? Wingman, need for speed, is still peppered in everyday conversation.

He was 68. Photo: Gus Ruelas, AP.