24 June 2020 14:33
The film producer and financier, real estate heir and Democratic political donor Steve Bing has died aged 55. The Los Angeles County coroner said it was suicide. Bing produced the 2000 Sylvester Stallone film Get Carter and was a major investor in the 2004 Tom Hanks animated film The Polar Express. He co-wrote the 2003 comedy Kangaroo Jack, which was savaged by critics but made nearly $90m at the box office. He was also a producer on Martin Scorsese's 2008 Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light, and a co-producer with Mick Jagger on a forthcoming documentary on Jerry Lee Lewis.
"It's so sad to hear of Steve Bing's passing," Jagger wrote on Twitter. "He was such a kind and generous friend and supported so many good and just causes. I will miss him very much." Bing was the son of Peter Bing, a doctor and philanthropist who specialised in public health, and the grandson of Leo Bing, a New York real estate developer who left him hundreds of millions of dollars that he inherited when he turned 18. In the 1980s, Steve Bing dropped out of his father's alma mater, Stanford University, to which the elder Bing had donated $50m, for a career in Hollywood. He got early credits as a co-writer on the 1984 Chuck Norris Vietnam vet movie Missing in Action and its two sequels. He wrote an episode of the sitcom Married With Children, and in 1994 he wrote and directed his own small film, Every Breath, starring Judd Nelson. Bing donated millions to the Democratic party and its candidates, including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi, and to campaigns for liberal-leaning ballot initiatives in California, as well as to various charities. Bill Clinton tweeted: "I loved Steve Bing very much. He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he's finally found peace." Bing was an LA socialite who frequently dated famous women and was often seen on red carpets, at big-dollar benefits and courtside at Lakers games. In his 30s he was involved in a pair of high-profile lawsuits centring on his possible paternity of two children, which brought him media attention on both sides of the Atlantic. A DNA test required by a British court in 2002 showed that he was the father of the infant son of the model and actor Elizabeth Hurley, whom he had dated. The same year he sued the movie mogul Kirk Kerkorian, alleging that Kerkorian had hired a private detective to go through Bing's rubbish to obtain DNA for another paternity test, this one to determine whether Bing was the father of a girl born to Kerkorian's then wife, Lisa Bonder. That lawsuit was settled out of court. The two children, Damian Hurley and Kira Kerkorian, have been named in recent court fights over whether they will be heirs to the trust set up by Bing's father. Family members of Steve Bing could not be reached for comment.