Tony Scott, the British-born director and producer who committed suicide by jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, had inoperable brain cancer according to sources but his family have denied the reports.
The 68-year-old had been in hospital earlier this summer and told friends it was for a hip operation. But they knew he had previously kicked cancer and suspected it had come back.
Despite his success in Hollywood, consistently turning out hits such as Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop 2, he once confessed to me that he was haunted by a fear of failure.
Denzel Washington, who appeared in five of his movies, once described him as fearless, but when we talked just before the release of his last movie, Unstoppable, Scott told me: “My fearlessness comes from fear. Fear of failure. And my energy comes from fear of failing creatively.”
Perhaps that was why he liked to challenge himself by rock climbing and risk-taking. Every year he returned to Europe to climb the Dolomites.
“At the end of every movie I’ll go and climb some big wall or rock,” he told me. “I’ll do a multi-day ascent because all I can do after finishing a movie is concentrate on ‘Where’s my next fingerhold? Where’s my next foothold?
“Shooting a movie is a lot more frightening than climbing El Capitan.”