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Tony Scott: A true action hero

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The British-born director of Hollywood blockbusters such as Top Gun, Tony Scott, has died after jumping from a Los Angeles bridge.

Scott, the younger brother of Alien and Gladiator director Ridley, had a hugely-successful career during which he became known for his taut, energetic and high-octane action films.

Scott originally trained to be a painter and earned a degree from the Royal College of Art. The success of his brother's television commercial company and a promise from Ridley that if he came to work with him he'd be able to afford a Ferrari within a year, however, gave Tony a taste for film and he moved into the commercial industry. After seeing one of Tony's Saab adverts featuring a car racing a jet fighter, Hollywood producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson picked him to direct a film which would be his breakthrough hit: Top Gun.

Top Gun made a star out of Tom Cruise and quickly cemented itself as a cult classic, establishing Tony Scott as a potent force in the action genre and becoming the highest-grossing film of 1986, taking $176 million at the box office. Top Gun and later films such as Revenge and Days of Thunder were often knocked by critics as favouring style over substance and as having an almost frenzied style of editing. But for Tony, this was the point: it was all about the action.

It was with the release of True Romance in 1993 a film scripted by Quentin Tarantino – that Tony Scott achieved success with both audiences and critics. The film balanced dark humour with intense violence and was praised by many as being one of the best action films of the 1990s. For many, Scott reached the pinnacle of his directorial style in 1995 with the release of Crimson Tide, a tense and action-packed submarine thriller. In recent years, he continued with his passion for muscular action with films such as Déjà Vu, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Unstoppable.

Often over-shadowed by his Oscar-winning brother, Tony Scott nevertheless had a monumental impact on the Hollywood action blockbuster and became known for his emphasis on frenetic cinematography, jaw-dropping set pieces and dramatic orchestral soundtracks. Scott worked with many Hollywood A-listers including Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro, Will Smith and Brad Pitt and many stars have taken to Twitter to pay their respects to a man who, in many ways, re-defined the action genre.

Tony Scott was 68 and the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said his death is being investigated as a suicide.




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