Born In: New York City, New York, United States
Steve Bing was an American producer, writer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He had also donated to various political campaigns of the Democratic Party throughout his life. Born into a wealthy family, Bing inherited a fortune from his real-estate magnate grandfather, at an early age. He eventually dropped out of Stanford University to start a career in Hollywood. Over the years, he produced numerous hit projects, through his production house, Shangri-La Entertainment. He was dragged into two separate paternity suits, one involving actor Elizabeth Hurley’s son, Damian, and the other involving tennis player Lisa Bonder’s daughter, Kira. DNA tests proved Bing was the father, in both the cases. Unfortunately, on June 22, 2020, he jumped to his death from his Los Angeles apartment, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Friends later revealed he had been suffering from mental-health issues and was also battling drug addiction.
Also Known As: Stephen Leo Bing
Died At Age: 55
father: Peter Bing
mother: Helen Bing
children: Damian Hurley, Kira Bonder
Partner: Elizabeth Hurley, Lisa Bonder
Born Country: United States
Height: 1.93 m
place of death: Los Angeles, California, United States
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Steve Bing was born Stephen Leo Bing, on March 31, 1965, in New York City, New York, U.S., to Helen and Peter Bing.
His mother was a nurse, while his father was a physician who specialized in public health and worked for presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy.
He grew up with a sister named Mary. As a toddler, Bing moved with his family to Los Angeles, where his father devoted himself to full-time philanthropy. The Bing family owned a number of concert halls and museums in California.
Bing attended the Los Angeles-based Harvard-Westlake School.
At 18, he inherited about $600 million from his grandfather, Leo S. Bing, who was a real-estate developer and had made a huge fortune in New York since the 1920s. Following this, Bing dropped out of Stanford University, when he was still in his junior year. He then decided to start a career in Hollywood.
Steve Bing had been associated as a writer and producer in a number of movies. He had contributed as a writer for the movies Kangaroo Jack (2003), Every Breath (straight-to-video thriller, 1994), Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988), Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985), and Missing in Action (1984). He had also written for an episode of the series Married... with Children (1989).
He owned a production company named Shangri-La Entertainment, launched in 2000. He invested $80 million in the hit animated movie The Polar Express, which featured the voice of Tom Hanks. He financed Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf and the Martin Scorsese-directed Rolling Stones concert movie named Shine A Light. He also produced singer Jerry Lee Lewis’s album Last Man Standing.
Some of the other projects produced by him were Every Breath (1994), Get Carter (2000), Without Charlie (2001), Night at the Golden Eagle (2001), The Big Bounce (2004), Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005), Refugee All Stars, Sierra Leone's (documentary, 2005), Santa Croce (short, 2007), Great Performances (one episode, series, 2007), CSNY/Déjà Vu (documentary, 2008), Girl Walks into a Bar (2011), Hotel Noir (2012), Marley (documentary, 2012), Rock the Kasbah (2015), and Rules Don't Apply (2016).
Steve Bing also financed an untitled documentary on Jerry Lee Lewis, which is still being filmed and is scheduled to be released in 2021. He was also working on a biopic on a biopic Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Studios.
He had also served as a director in the movie Every Breath and had appeared as a basketball player in the 1991 movie The Dark Backward.
A lover of rock ‘n’ roll music, Steve teamed up with Jeff Ayeroff and formed the boutique record label named Shangri-La Music in 2008.
In 1993, Steve Bing made a contribution of $500 to support the re-election campaign of Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Bing also donated over $10.7 million to the Democratic Party and many of its candidates, at the federal level.
In 2002, he reportedly gave away $8.2 million to the Democratic National Committee. He also supported specific candidates, such as Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein.
Bing donated at least $49.5 million in support of Proposition 87 during the 2006 elections.
On December 18, 2008, a list of contributors made public by the William J. Clinton Foundation revealed that Bing had donated between US$10–25 million to the foundation.
On August 5, 2009, A 737 private aircraft that Steve Bing owned was used to help American reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee return from North Korea, after they spent 5 months of their 12-year sentence in the country. Former president Bill Clinton helped bring them back, while Bing paid for the entire journey that cost around $200,000.
Bing once bought tickets to bring 25 veterans, along with their families, to a benefit concert that featured Al Pacino. He talked to each of them for 20 minutes.
He often met homeless people and helped them with food and resources. He and his friend Mikey Beaven were developing an app that would have assisted in the prevention of suicides by war veterans.
In April 2012, Bing joined The Giving Pledge, an initiative by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, thus committing to donate most of his wealth to the charity.
Though Steve Bing never married, he had dated many celebrities, including Sharon Stone. In the early 2000s, he faced two publicized paternity cases.
He got into a legal entanglement with British actor Elizabeth Hurley over the paternity of her son, Damian. A DNA test and a judgement by an English court later revealed that Bing was the baby’s father.
In another case, Bing sued Kirk Kerkorian for invasion of privacy. Apparently, Kerkorian had used a security guard to get access to Bing’s dental floss (collected from Bing’s trash can), to use it for a DNA test to prove the paternity of the child of Kerkorian’s ex-wife, tennis player Lisa Bonder. Kerkorian was involved in a child-support battle with Lisa and thus wished to prove than Bing was the father of the child, Kira. A DNA test later proved Bing was indeed Kira’s father.
In 2018, Bing began living in with Allexanne Mitchum. Mitchum was the great-granddaughter of actor Robert Mitchum. She was 25 years his junior. Mitchum later died to a drug overdose.
In 2019, when Bing’s father wished to exclude Bing’s children from a family trust, Bing fought for them in court and later won. Bing himself started a fund for Damian and met Kira as an adult.
Steve Bing died by suicide on June 22, 2020, by jumping from his 27th-floor apartment in the Century City neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. He was 55 at the time of his death.
There have been many speculations regarding his death, and many have also linked it to the controversial Jeffrey Epstein case.
However, close friends later revealed that Bing had been depressed for a long time. He was estranged from his family. He was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social isolation it brought along with it. His former girlfriend Allexanne Mitchum’s death anniversary was also nearing.
His friends also revealed that he had been addicted to drugs and had been to rehab multiple times. He was suffering from bipolar disorder, had spoken about suicide in the past, and had been speaking to his therapist twice a day during his final days.
On July 2, 2020, Jerry Lee Lewis received a package from Bing, which had been couriered a day before Bing committed suicide. It contained a pipe and a handwritten note saying Jerry was “the greatest father in the world.”
Bing also left a note for each of his two children, Damian and Kira.
Steve Bing loved movies and rock music. He loved playing the piano and was a huge fan of The Rolling Stones. He played at a club in Westwood at the age of 19 or 20.
He owned a 1997 Lincoln Town car. He also had a property opposite Hotel Bel-Air, where he lived for 9 years since 1991. Some of his favorite possessions were a piano and a few original prints by rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jim Marshall.