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Official: Director Tony Scott left notes in car, office before his apparent suicide

By Chelsea J. Carter and JD Cargill, CNN
updated 10:07 AM EDT, Tue August 21, 2012
Director Tony Scott on location for "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" on the streets of Manhattan on May 11, 2008, in New York. Scott died Sunday, August 19, at age 68 in an apparent suicide. Director Tony Scott on location for "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" on the streets of Manhattan on May 11, 2008, in New York. Scott died Sunday, August 19, at age 68 in an apparent suicide.
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Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
Director Tony Scott dead at 68
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tom Cruise remembers Tony Scott as a "creative visionary" and a "dear friend"
  • Scott left two notes behind, including one to his family, a coroner official says
  • "There's nothing to indicate it is anything else" than suicide, he says
  • Scott, 68, plummeted from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro

Send your thoughts and memories of director Tony Scott to CNN iReport

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Film director Tony Scott left notes in his car and office before plunging to his death from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, a Los Angeles County coroner official said Monday.

Scott, best known for the films "Top Gun" and "Beverly Hills Cop II," apparently committed suicide by jumping from the bridge about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, said Lt. Joe Bale of the coroner's office.

"There's nothing to indicate it is anything else at this time," Bale said.

Director Tony Scott: An appreciation

A friend found a note from Scott, 68, in his Los Angeles office, apparently written for his family, Deputy Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. A note left in his car on the bridge including names and phone numbers for his family was probably intended for officials investigating his death, Winter said.

The bridge spans Los Angeles Harbor, connecting San Pedro and Terminal Island.

A passerby who saw Scott jump from the bridge called 911, according to a statement released by the coroner's office late Sunday.

Scott: 'Fear of creative failure'
'Top Gun' director Tony Scott dies

"The L.A. Port Police recovered the body from the water," the statement said.

Opinion: Scott made tense films for jittery times

Born Anthony D.L. Scott in North Shields, England, in 1944, he got his start as a teenager in front of the camera, starring in his older brother Ridley Scott's film "Boy and Bicycle." In 1995, the two joined forces to create the production company Scott Free Productions.

Simon Halls, a publicist who represents the Scott brothers, confirmed the death.

Tony Scott became a household name in 1986 as director of the mega-hit "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. He followed that up with the Eddie Murphy action movie "Beverly Hills Cop II" in 1987.

Both Cruise and Murphy released statements mourning the loss of their director.

"Tony was my dear friend and I will really miss him. He was a creative visionary whose mark on film is immeasurable. My deepest sorrow and thoughts are with his family at this time," said Cruise.

Murphy described Scott as a "wonderful collaborator" and said he will be missed.

Pepperdine University film professor Craig Detweiler called Scott "the supreme stylist" who "operated at the top of his game throughout each decade of his career."

"He was able to make the thinnest of premises into something pulse-pounding and exciting and he's almost a filmmaker as a magician who found drama amidst almost contrived situations," Detweiler said.

Taking his own life by jumping from a bridge is "a high-adrenaline ending, which matches his dramatic style," he said.

"He put Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Tom Cruise in movies where one man overcomes all struggles, triumphs over struggles, and yet it appears he was not able to write that story for himself," he said.

Actor Michael Rapaport, who was directed by Scott in "True Romance," took to Twitter to praise the director. In one post, he said there hasn't been a day since the movie was released in 1993 that someone doesn't tell him how much they loved the film.

"Tony Scott was a sweet enthusiastic & lovin man," Rapaport wrote.

Scott cemented his reputation for big-budget action films with 1990's "Revenge" starring Kevin Costner and "Days of Thunder" with Cruise. In 1998, he directed "Enemy of the State" with Will Smith and Gene Hackman.

EW: 11 Tony Scott films to remember

It was on the set of "Days of Thunder" where Scott met actress Donna Wilson, whom he married in 1994. They had twin sons.

Reaction to Scott's death poured out Monday, with directors, actors and fans mourning the news.

"Being around you was always the ultimate experience -- intensity, vitality and celebration. Pure rock and roll and great cigars. Your warmth and generosity was palpable to all us. You treated everyone with care and respect," said actor Edgar Ramirez, who starred in Scott's 2005 film, "Domino."

"You always focused on the subtleties, taking the best out of us. I am proud to be your friend, and although I won't be seeing you for a while, you will live on in the laughter of our memories of you."

"Tony Scott as a friend and a mentor was irreplaceable. Tone, wherever you are, I love you man. RIP," director and producer Joe Carnahan said on Twitter.

Carnahan recounted how when his movie "The Grey" was finished, Scott called to tell him he had seen it. He told Carnahan it was great and not to allow anybody to change anything in it.

"Tony always sent personal, handwritten notes & always drew a cartoon caricature of himself, smoking a cigar, with his hat colored in red," Carnahan said in a post.

Scott directed his last film, the train thriller "Unstoppable" starring Denzel Washington, in 2010.

"For me, it was the most challenging movie of my life, and the most dangerous because I'm shooting 90 percent of the movie on a train that is running between 50 and 70 mph," Scott told CNN at the time.

Scott's reputation in Hollywood was low-key.

"He wasn't a showy kind of guy," longtime entertainment reporter Jeanne Wolf told CNN.

Scott was often seen sporting a frayed, faded red ball cap on the movie sets and at red carpet premieres.

The ball cap, Wolf said, was his trademark.

Time: Top 7 Tony Scott movie moments

While Scott's movies garnered box office success, they never received the acclaim that generated Academy Award nominations.

In 2002, the Scott brothers won an Emmy for the television movie "The Gathering Storm."

Scott also was nominated for the Emmy as a producer for the CBS drama "The Good Wife."

"So very, very sorry to hear of the death of Tony Scott," actress Martha Plimpton, who appeared in "The Good Wife," said via Twitter.

Among his last projects was serving as an executive producer on the TV miniseries "Coma," which is due to air this year.

Obituaries 2012: The lives they've lived

JD Cargill reported from Los Angeles and Chelsea J. Carter from Atlanta. CNN's Alan Duke, Greg Morrison, Holly Yan and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

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