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Stephen Leo Bing
March 31, 1965
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 22, 2020 (aged 55)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Stanford University (dropped out)|
|Occupation||Businessman, film producer, philanthropist|
|Children||2, including Damian Hurley|
|Relatives||Leo S. Bing (grandfather)|
Stephen Leo Bing (March 31, 1965 – June 22, 2020) was an American businessman, philanthropist, film producer, and screenwriter. He was the founder of Shangri-La Entertainment, an organization with interests in property, construction, entertainment and music.
Bing was born in New York City in 1965. His parents were Helen, a nurse, and Peter Bing, a doctor in public health. He was of Jewish background. Bing attended the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. At the age of 18, he inherited an estimated $600 million from his grandfather, Leo S. Bing, a real estate developer who had made his fortune in New York in the 1920s. The Los Angeles Business Journal's January 2010 publication of "The Lists 2010" listed him in its "Wealthiest Angelenos" section of the magazine, which estimated his worth at $590 million, coming in at No. 46. After inheriting his fortune, Bing dropped out of Stanford University in his junior year to pursue a career in Hollywood.
Bing reportedly invested $80 million in The Polar Express, an animated film featuring the voice of Tom Hanks, which earned $285 million globally and was one of the year's top box office successes. He was also the financier of Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf, and the producer/financier of Shine a Light, a Rolling Stones concert film directed by Martin Scorsese. Bing also financed and produced the independently released Jerry Lee Lewis album Last Man Standing.
In addition to his producing and film finance work, he also co-wrote both the screenplay and the story of Kangaroo Jack (2003).
Beginning with a $500 contribution in 1993 to support Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., in his bid for re-election, Bing contributed more than $10.7 million at the federal level to the Democratic Party and its candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The biggest checks were written in 2002 when he gave a total of $8.2 million to the Democratic National Committee. But he also gave to specific candidates, including Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein.
Bing was reported to have given at least $49.5 million during the 2006 election cycle in support of Proposition 87, a California initiative which sought to raise $4 billion in oil production taxes to help develop alternative fuels. Bing also supported several key races in other parts of the country as Democrats fought to win back control of Congress. They included Democratic challenger Bob Casey, Jr. in Pennsylvania, who unseated conservative GOP incumbent Senator Rick Santorum, and future United States senator Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, then a Democratic congressional hopeful and an Army National Guard major who lost her legs in Iraq, who went on to lose to State Senator Peter Roskam in that race. Excluding Prop. 87 contributions, in California Bing donated $7.8 million worth from 2000 on, according to the California secretary of state. He spent $4.25 million in 2005 in a successful effort to defeat Prop. 77, a redistricting initiative sponsored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other beneficiaries of his political largesse included: the California Democratic Party ($640,172); Governor Gray Davis ($675,000); and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose campaign received $750 in 2004.
In October 2008, Bing pledged to match donations made to the NO on Proposition 8 campaign from October 17–19.
On August 5, 2009, a 737 private aircraft owned by Stephen Bing and based out of hangar 25 at the Burbank Airport in Southern California, was utilized in the return of American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee who had spent 5 months of a 12-year sentence in North Korea. Former President Bill Clinton was instrumental in their return and accompanied the reporters back to the United States. Bing reportedly covered the cost of the entire flight, estimated to be around $200,000.
In 2001, Bing sued billionaire Kirk Kerkorian for invasion of privacy. Bing alleged that convicted criminal private investigator Anthony Pellicano took Bing's dental floss out of his trash to collect his DNA. At the time, Kerkorian was in a legal fight with his former wife Lisa Bonder, a former professional tennis player, over the amount of child support he would pay, with the billionaire reportedly suspecting Bing (a previous boyfriend) to be the biological father of Bonder's daughter, Kira. After Bing was proved by DNA testing to be the father of Bonder's child, Bing and Kerkorian settled their dispute out of court.
The paternity of Bonder's daughter was revealed by Anthony Pellicano, a Los Angeles private investigator (and wiretapper) hired by Kerkorian's lawyer, who was also a "friend" to Bing. According to an FBI summary, Pellicano sometimes played Hollywood clients against each other, at one point asking financier (and Bing friend) Ron Burkle for a $100,000 to $250,000 shakedown in order not to be investigated by Michael Ovitz, another Pellicano client.[additional citation(s) needed] In a twist to the case, The New York Times reported payments of $335,000 by Bing to Pellicano between June 2000 and August 2002. According to excerpts of recorded calls, Pellicano bragged to Kerkorian's lawyer in April and May 2002 that he was "working for" and "consulting for" Bing in matters related to Elizabeth Hurley and her son's disputed paternity, which was then in the news. A lawyer for Bing, Martin Singer, called Pellicano's statement regarding Hurley "an absolute lie." (The Daily Mail reportedly paid a "substantial" settlement to Bing in 2003 after Pellicano's sworn statement that he had "never been engaged by Mr. Bing nor his attorney Mr. Martin Singer to investigate anyone on Mr. Bing's behalf, including Ms. Hurley.") Following two trials in 2008 in which Bing did not testify, Pellicano was convicted of 78 counts of wiretapping, racketeering, wire fraud, and conspiracy. Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered, with Terry N. Christensen, to forfeit $2 million.
Bing died by suicide on June 22, 2020, at the age of 55 by jumping from his condominium on the 27th floor of the Ten Thousand building (10000 Santa Monica Boulevard) in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles. At the time of his death, he was worth $300,000, having spent most of the $600 million he had inherited.
- Austin Ramzy; Rachel Abrams (June 23, 2020). "Steve Bing, Hollywood Producer and Financier, Is Dead at 55". The New York Times.
- "$25 million gift endows overseas program, renamed in honor of Bings". Stanford News – Stanford University. October 12, 2005.
- "Vanity Fair". Vanity Fair Publishing Company. 2002 – via Google Books.
- "50% of New "Giving Pledge" Donors are Jewish". the algemeiner. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
- Anousha Sakoui; Richard Winton. "Steve Bing, philanthropist and film producer, dies after fall from building". Yahoo! News. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- "The Polar Express (2004)". The Numbers.com.
- Richard Jinman (February 14, 2005). "Film notoriety awaits Beowulf". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- Stephen Foley (August 8, 2009). "Steve Bing: Man on a mission". The Independent. London, England. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- Alexis Petridis (December 1, 2006). "CD: Jerry Lee Lewis, Last Man Standing". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- "Californians for Clean Alternative Energy". FollowTheMoney.org (Top Donors).
- "Entity Details | BING, STEPHEN". FollowTheMoney.org (Ballot Measure Committees).
- "William J. Clinton Foundation | Contributor Information". Archived from the original on June 5, 2011.
- Mark Landler (August 5, 2009). "After Clinton Trip, U.S. Studies Signals From N. Korea". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2009. (subscription required)
- Alice Gomstyn (August 5, 2009). "Steve Bing to Pay $200K for Clinton Korea Trip". ABC News. Retrieved August 6, 2009.
- "Dramatic claim to Bing's massive inheritance". NewsComAu. June 23, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
- David M. Halbfinger (January 11, 2007). "Lawyer Gave Information To Kerkorian". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2007. (subscription required)
- David M. Halbfinger (April 20, 2006). "Billionaire Reports a Shakedown in Hollywood". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2007. (subscription required)
- David M. Halbfinger; Allison Hope Weiner (April 12, 2007). "Hollywood Evidence Raises Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2007. (subscription required)
- Brooks Barnes (December 15, 2008). "15 Years for Hollywood Investigator". The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2008. (subscription required)
- "A Commitment to Philanthropy". The Giving Pledge. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
- Ade Adeniji (April 16, 2017). "Steve Bing". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved October 19, 2018. (subscription required)
- Pat Saperstein (June 22, 2020). "Steve Bing, Producer and 'Kangaroo Jack' Writer, Dies by Suicide at 55". Variety. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
- Hyde, Jesse (October 20, 2020). "The Tragic Last Days of Movie Mogul Steve Bing". Town & Country. Retrieved October 20, 2020.