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Autopsy finds anti-depressant, sleep aid in Tony Scott’s system

Scott was said to be working on a sequel to his 1986 movie “Top Gun” before his death.

LOS ANGELES: Filmmaker Tony Scott had an anti-depressant and sleep aid in his bloodstream when he leapt to his death from a bridge in August.

Preliminary autopsy results from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office confirmed that Scott’s death, which baffled investigators and much of Hollywood, was a suicide, caused by blunt force trauma and drowning.

The 68-year-old British-born director of such blockbusters as “Top Gun” and “Beverly Hills Cop II” had therapeutic levels of the anti-depressant Mirtazapine and the prescription sleep-aid Lunesta in his system, coroner’s investigators found.

The findings shed no light on Scott’s motive in committing suicide. A coroner’s spokesman said a final report was still two weeks away.

Family members have dismissed early reports that Scott was suffering from inoperable brain cancer and Craig Harvey, operations chief for the coroner, has previously said that there were no obvious signs of a tumor. The preliminary autopsy report made no mention of any evidence of serious illness.

Investigators have offered no theories as to why Scott took his life, and a note he left behind did not explain the suicide.

The last person to see Scott was an onlooker parking his car on the Vincent Thomas Bridge over Los Angeles Harbor, who saw the director leap into the water just after noon on Aug. 19. His body was recovered by law enforcement several hours later.

The bridge, the surface of which clears the harbor’s navigation channel by a height of about 56 meters, connects the port district of San Pedro at the southern tip of Los Angeles to Terminal Island in the harbor.

Born in northern England, Scott is credited with directing more than two dozen movies and television shows and producing nearly 50 titles.

He built a reputation for muscular but stylish thrillers that showcased some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in a body of work that dated to the 1980s and established him as one of the most successful action directors in the business.

At the time of his death, Scott was reported to be involved in developing several film projects including a sequel to his biggest hit, the 1986 fighter-jet adventure “Top Gun,” which starred Tom Cruise.

The brother of Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott, he is survived by his third wife, Donna, with whom he had two children.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 24, 2012, on page 16.

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