Everyone who was shocked and saddened by Tony Scott‘s bridge-jumping suicide, which happened on 8.19.12, wanted to know the story. So much talent, so much vitality, a family…why? For months I kept asking friends and colleagues…nothing. The day after Scott died (8.20) a report alleged that Scott was dealing with “inoperable brain cancer,” but this was called “absolutely false” by his widow, Joanna. TMZ reported that day that “we’re told Scott’s wife says Tony did not have any other severe medical issues that would have caused him to take his own life.”
In an 11.25 Variety piece Ridley Scott, Tony’s older brother who’s now plugging Exodus: Gods and Kings, tells Scott Foundas that his younger brother “had been fighting a lengthy battle with cancer.” Foundas explains that “the family elected to keep this diagnosis private during his treatments and in the immediate wake of his death.” Except nobody has said zip since Tony Scott died two and 1/3 years ago so “immediate wake” is a stretch.
It’s one thing for a person to keep his/her illness hidden — of course. But after that person is gone? For those who loved Tony’s work knowing that he was sick would have offered a kind of closure. Many of us felt a real kinship with the guy and were mystified by his death. A couple of sources told me Scott was bipolar and given to depression, etc.
“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,” Scott tells Foundas. “I miss a friend. I’d go to him even when he was doing his recovery, and I’d say, ‘Fuck the chemo, have a vodka martini,’ and he and I would go out.”
Exodus ends with an onscreen dedication to his brother.