Almost Three Years After His Death, The Loss Of ‘Top Gun’ Director Tony Scott Still Stings

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It’s been almost three years since visionary director Tony Scott tragically leapt to his death in Los Angeles, and this week, Scott would have turned 71. The True Romance and Man on Fire director was known for his frenetic style, with frequent collaborator Denzel Washington dubbing him “Ten-camera Tony.”

Since his untimely passing, many in the Hollywood community have expressed their thoughts, feelings and condolences for the late maestro of cinema. Let’s take a look back at what his friends and collaborators have said about the life and legacy of Tony Scott, one of the most underrated and under-appreciated directors, and a man who gave us Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide and many others.

Ridley Scott on his brother’s demise

When Tony perished, most of his family said that he was not battling cancer. Brother, Ridley, disagreed:

“Tony had been very unwell, actually, and that’s the moment I realized I had to get very close to him again, though we were always close. I miss a friend. I’d go to him even when he was doing his recovery, and I’d say, ‘**** the chemo, have a vodka martini’. And he and I would go out.”

Denzel Washington

Washington starred in Crimson Tide, Deja Vu, Man on Fire, The Taking Of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable for Scott, and is still feeling the loss of his collaborator and friend.

“Tony was the best… He wore his heart outside of his shirt… And I really miss him. I just put a picture up, of him, in my room, in my study in my house, and I actually had to cover it up because it was too difficult to look at him. It’s almost like he was looking at the camera, like he was looking at me, and I just really miss him…”

Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino worked with Scott on True Romance and was pleased to see the impact that Scott’s work had on rank and file filmgoers who expressed sadness after his death.

“One of the things that’s actually been kind of gratifying about reading all of this Internet stuff, where everyone’s talking about their favorite Tony Scott movie and stuff, is people were not saying that in 1990. People used to [say] ‘Oh, he’s a commercial hack. His stuff is bullsh*t.’ And I loved his sh*t. I thought it was fantastic.”

“He’s just like Douglas Sirk, man. Douglas Sirk never got any respect in the ‘50s. His movies were considered too commercial. Everybody put him down and now they teach classes on him.”

Richard Kelly

The Donnie Darko writer/director voiced his appreciation for how willing Scott was to include him into the process.

“Usually the screenwriter isn’t really welcome on set or he’s sort of only invited on certain days or it’s a very ‘keep your distance’ sort of a situation, but this was the opposite. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience.”

Kevin Costner

Costner worked with Scott on the 1990 film, Revenge, and he clearly came away impressed.

“Tony was one of the good guys. He was a man’s man who lived life as hard and as full as anyone I’ve ever met, but there was always a sweetness to his toughness. He was truly in love with his profession.”

Roger Ebert:

Save for Scott’s debut, The Hunger, and Beverly Hills Cop II, Ebert seemed to have affection for a lot of Scott’s work, and that was clear when he spoke out after his death.

“He was a master craftsman, whose red-blooded action movies were uncannily skillful without resorting to standard clichés of violence.”

David Krumholtz:

Scott’s impact was also felt in the world of TV, where he produced The Good Wife and Numb3rs for CBS. Krumholtz starred in the latter.

“He had ACTUAL Vietnamese gangbangers, whom he knew personally, play themselves on the show. He was wild and big and crazy and uncontrollable and he gave it his all, every moment, because he believed in his crew, his cast, and the show.”

And here’s a reminder of the kind of work Tony Scott put out into the world.