Steve Bing was a committed philanthropist and passionate advocate for many good causes.
Despite dropping out of college to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker, Steve became a great Hollywood success story.
He founded Shangri-La Entertainment after inheriting around $ 600 million from his grandfather, who made his fortune as a real estate developer.
Steve’s first big budget film was the hit Sylvester Stallone Get Carter, released in 2000.
He wrote Kangaroo Jack in 2003, and he also invested nearly $ 100 million in the 2004 film The Polar Express.
The filmmaker also used his wealth for good and donated huge sums of money to environmental causes.
But friends said the 55-year-old man was caught in a crippling loneliness and is believed to have committed suicide on Monday.
The film producer, who has a son, Damian, with his ex-girlfriend Liz Hurley, is said to have jumped out of his Los Angeles apartment at 1:10 p.m. Monday.
The Los Angeles Police Department said they are investigating the death of a man in his 50s in the Century City area.
Throughout his life, his high-profile career and charitable donations were overshadowed by his controversial private life.
He had enjoyed a dizzying romance with model Liz Hurley when he got big in Hollywood.
Then, at just 35, Steve wooed Liz, then 36, with private jets, thick gold Rolex watches, sapphire and diamond rings, and all-expenses-paid trips to New York and Europe.
But beyond external ostentation, both Liz and her friends said she was “very much in love” with the aspiring filmmaker and heir to a £ 400 million-owned fortune.
“Every time I saw Steve and Elizabeth together, they always seemed incredibly happy and very much in love,” Liz Henry’s close friend Dent-Brocklehurst told the Daily Mail at the time.
Enchanted by her beauty and modeling status, her relationship was rumored to be on the adventurous side.
After a brief breakup in March 2001, the couple were said to be more serious than ever, spending all their time together in their luxury suite at the Bel Air Hotel and vacationing at the Elton John villa in Nice that August, where Liz is believed to have conceived
But instead of bringing them together, the news of the baby sparked one of the nastiest parenting fights in Hollywood.
Liz was “deeply distressed” when Steve issued a wild statement suggesting that the boy was not hers.
“Ms. Hurley and I did not have an exclusive relationship when she became pregnant. It is her choice to be a single mother,” she said before committing to be “extremely involved and responsible” if he is found to be the father.
Some claimed that he had told Liz to have an abortion, others said that he felt “cheated” because she had been taking the pill (antibiotics reportedly stopped working).
Bing’s sister Mary, a New York social worker, even cruelly told Vanity Fair that her brother had been “tricked into becoming a father.”
Liz wasted no time answering, arguing that for her, at least, the romance had been monogamous.
“I loved Stephen tremendously during the 18 months we were together. Contrary to the erroneous reports, we were still very happy when I found out I was pregnant,” she said.
“I was completely loyal and faithful to Stephen during all this time since, in fact, he assured me that he was for me.”
Damian Charles Hurley arrived on April 4, 2002, and a court-ordered DNA test showed that Bing was his father.
He announced plans to pay £ 100,000 a year in a trust for his son that would be accessible when he turned 18.
But determined to make it clear that it was never about the money, Liz rejected her gesture and stated that the cash “was neither wanted nor welcome.”
“I’ve always made it perfectly clear to Stephen Bing, the father of my son Damian, that I don’t want any financial help from him,” he said.
This wouldn’t be the only time Steve was involved in a very public, high-profile parenting battle.
In 2002, the same year Damian was born, Steve sued Kirk Kerkorian, 84, for invasion of privacy.
The billionaire had hired a private detective to get some of Steve’s DNA rummaging through his trash.
After finding a dental floss, this was used to determine that Steve, not Kirk, was the father of Kira, who he had believed to be his son with Lisa Bonder.
Lisa and Kirk were married for only 28 days and Kira inherited $ 8.5 million from Kirk when he died in 2015.
Steve is said to have kept his two sons at a distance. It is reported that he never met Damian, the boy he shares with Liz, and only met Kira when she became an adult.
Despite this, the filmmaker went against his own family when his father, Dr. Peter Bing, tried to remove Damian and Kira from his will.
Last year, Dr. Bing tried to prevent the teenager and his half-sister, Kira Kerkorian, from inheriting the family’s great fortune.
Kira was Steve’s daughter from her relationship with tennis player Lisa Bonder.
Peter claimed, according to court documents, that Damian was not entitled to any of the £ 380m family wealth because he had never met Steve.
However, Steve went into battle for his son and daughter, and his legal team called Peter’s statement “a sham.”
Peter had established a trust in 1980 so that he could leave his “future grandchildren” the family fortune, but in March of last year he tried to redefine the meaning of the grandchildren in the documents.
The new documents claimed that Peter’s grandchildren “raised by my children as part of their families” if they were to receive any of the money.
He also attempted to ban “anyone born out of wedlock unless that person has lived for a substantial period of time as a regular member of the family,” which would include Damian and Kira, from inheriting.
Steve contested the new documents and also accused his own father of “organizing a big money take” with his sister Mary.
He said it had been done so that his children inherited more money.
But in July of last year, a judge supporting Steve and Damian will now be entitled to his share of Bing’s wealth.
Judge Daniel Juárez said: “There is no ambiguity in the use of trusts of the term ‘grandson’.
“The Trustees’ interpretation of the Trusts is unreasonable because there is no ambiguity and the Trustee’s construction of ‘grandson’ is simply unfounded.”
Both Damian and Liz have paid tribute to the man who has been absent from their lives for the past 18 years.
The actress said, “It saddens me to believe that my ex Steve is no longer with us.
“It is a terrible ending. Our time together was very happy and I am posting these photos because although we are going through difficult times, what matters are the good and wonderful memories of a sweet and kind man. Last year we had to get close again.
“The last time we spoke was on our son’s 18th birthday. This is devastating news and I thank everyone for their adorable messages.”
Damian added: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have communicated after the devastating news.
“This is a very strange and confusing moment and I am immensely grateful to be surrounded by my great family and friends.”
Despite once having Hollywood star Warren Beatty and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger among his closest friends, Steve seemed unable to settle.
He spent nine years living in a luxury hotel before moving into the luxurious Ten Thousand Building in Los Angeles.
Steve also dated some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Naomi Campbell, Uma Thurman, and Sharon Stone, but couldn’t find lasting love.
A regular visitor to strip clubs, where he showered with big-tip dancers, and the Playboy Mansion, Steve was more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt.
He was also passionate about politics and a great donor to Democrats, counting former President Bill Clinton as a friend.
However, it was his reputation as a womanizer that brought Steve into the limelight.
When he parted ways with Liz Hurley there were rumors that he had also been seeing the Armanu model and actress for Bman Swanson, whom he was seen with on his 39th birthday a month before Nice.
The outraged public called him Bing Laden in a nod to his “un-chivalrous” behavior.
Brenda did nothing to quell the rumors when she told the Daily Mail that she had been with Steve during a particularly furious phone call with Liz.
“Liz called him and he went crazy. He demanded to know who I was. He was crying and he went crazy,” he said sniper.
It seems that her relationship with her ex, Liz, had thawed at the time of her tragic death.
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