Steve Bing, a producer, philanthropist and screenwriter, has died by suicide in Los Angeles. He was 55.
Police and the coroner’s office said a man fitting his age jumped from a Century City apartment building on Monday. The coroner’s office confirmed Bing’s identity on Tuesday. Sources told TMZ he had been suffering from depression.
Bing, who inherited a fortune of some $600 million from his grandfather, L.A. real estate developer Leo S. Bing, also contributed millions of dollars to Democratic political causes.
After receiving his inheritance at the age of 18, Bing dropped out of Stanford to try out the movie business. While he was still a high school student at Harvard-Westlake, he wrote the story for “Missing in Action” and later wrote an episode of “Married With Children.”
In 2003, he co-wrote the action comedy “Kangaroo Jack,” starring Anthony Anderson and Jerry O’Connell.
Bing invested some $80 million in “The Polar Express,” the Tom Hanks-voiced 2004 film directed by Robert Zemeckis. He had executive producer credits on a number of films and music documentaries, including Rolling Stones documentary “Shine a Light,” directed by Martin Scorsese, “CSNY/Deja Vu,” “Rock the Kasbah,” “Get Carter,” “Beowulf,” “Rules Don’t Apply” and “Girl Walks Into a Bar.”
For a time he also signed musicians and released a Jerry Lee Lewis album. He was also helping back a documentary on the early rock n’ roller that is still in development.
In addition to having a close relationship with Bill Clinton, his political contributions have included Al Gore, Gavin Newsom, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein.
He was also a major donor to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and helped send Bill Clinton to North Korea to pick up Laura Ling and Euna Lee after their imprisonment.
The contributor to progressive causes and Hollywood producer spent much of his life living in hotels and was known for his partying lifestyle and celebrity friends.
A 2002 Los Angeles Times article described him as a “high-profile Hollywood libertine,” saying, “He is a man dedicated apparently in equal measures to philanthropy, politics and women.”
Bing had relationships with Elizabeth Hurley, with whom he had a son, Damian, and with Lisa Bonder, a former tennis player with whom he had a daughter, Kira. Both women filed paternity suits to compel Bing to disclose his parenthood, and both found that he was the father.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.