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.