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Bingham Ray (1954-2012)

Allow me to go off topic (or slightly off topic) for a moment to pay tribute to an old friend, Bingham Ray (he’s at left in the photo above, with a younger, thinner version of me circa 1991 – that’s animator Gavrilo Gnatovich behind us). His unexpected passing yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival has generated a lot a press. The New York Times notes, “He started his formal career in 1981 in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s New York office, where he sold library titles to hospitals, colleges and ships at sea”. Yep, that’s where I met him, where we worked side-by-side in MGM/UA’s nontheatrical department, renting 16mm prints to various venues.

Bing was a hilarious guy and it was absolutely true that everyone loved him. He left MGM/UA and ultimately became the head of several movie companies including Samuel Goldwyn and United Artists. He started his own film distribution company, October Films, in 1991 and one of his first acquisitions was Bill Plympton’s The Tune. He was always there for advice, a joke, or to simply share his enthusiasm for film. He will be missed.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Bing.

  • Steve Menke

    When the indie film scene suddenly went from an occasional curiosity to widespread attention in the late 80s/early 90s, Ray helped maintain an incredible level of quality and variety. I’m especially remembering how October Films brought Mike Leigh’s work to the height of Academy Award attention, culminating with one of my all-time favorites, “Topsy-Turvy.” Thank you, sir, for many worthwhile hours in the movie theatre darkness (including the chance to see “The Tune” on the big screen).

  • It is incredibly heart breaking when we lose an old friend. Condolences.

  • Anthony D.

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, Jerry. :(

  • Sorry for your loss.

  • Aww…a friend from one of your first jobs no longer with us.

  • Bugsmer

    My condolences, Jerry.

  • Rough. The San Francisco Film Society just replaced a well-loved executive director…. their search begins again, I could imagine.

  • He was one of the good ones. I was at MGM when he ran UA and everyone in our group loved him. He could have done a lot of great things for UA if MGM had let him.