Steve Bing, philanthropist, film producer and prominent Democratic political donor whose producing credits include “The Polar Express” and “Get Carter,” died Monday.
Bing, 55, fell to his death from a high-rise building in Century City, according to a law enforcement source who was not authorized to comment. Foul play is not suspected.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said it responded to a call around 1 p.m. regarding the death of a man in his 50s in the 10000 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City.
“This is the only information we have at this time,” said Capt. Gisselle Espinoza, an LAPD spokeswoman.
Known to be media-shy, the real estate scion was a Harvard Westlake graduate who inherited a $600-million fortune at the age of 18.
Bing, a major Democratic donor and a friend of President Clinton, went on to Stanford but dropped out in his junior year to pursue filmmaking. Rangy and silver-haired, the 6-foot-4 producer was often seen dressed casually in jeans and gym shoes.
From the Independent:
Bing had become the NRDC’s biggest donor; Clinton was guest speaker. The pair hit it off and Bing became a certified FOB, or Friend of Bill, hooking themselves together for a string of his post-presidential ventures. This year, when Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State necessitated the publication of donors to her husband’s charitable foundation, it emerged that Bing was one of the top benefactors there, too, having put in somewhere between $10m and $25m.
Earlier, he had given around $50m to campaign for a California tax on oil companies to fund green energy, paying for ads that featured Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Then it was via connections at the Clinton Global Initiative that Bing found himself working with Brad Pitt to fund rebuilding in New Orleans, accompanying the star on a trip to Washington in March that took in the White House and Congress.
Bing had continued supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, even as others in Hollywood were defecting to the upstart campaign of Barack Obama. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, kept up appearances at Bing’s own events, such as the launch of a solar-powered aircraft hangar at the very Bob Hope airport where the pair met again this week.
This is the star-spangled aristocracy of America, and Bing is there, clad in the jeans and T-shirt that is the I’m-just-like-you uniform of the super-rich. And it’s not just about money. Clinton actually likes Bing. Aides report that Bing is well read and interesting, and that he and the former president have a habit of staying up long into the night debating and chewing over issues – just the sort of thoughtful conversation that Clinton was addicted to in his White House days.
And of course, both are men of a certain, scandalish reputation. In fact, Clinton has formed a tight friendship not just with Bing but also with Ron Burkle, the 56-year-old supermarket mogul with a penchant for leggy blondes half his age. Burkle, himself great gossip-column fodder, has long been a buddy of Bing, with whom he also shares a love of movies. The trio have been spotted out on the town together in places as far flung as Paris. Hillary campaign insiders fretted so much about the friendships that their concerns spilled over into a Vanity Fair article last year, laced with anonymous quotes, that questioned whether Bill really should be “private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinged posse”. READ MORE:
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