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Bingham Ray: President of United Artists

One day in 2003, the young screenwriter Dave Kalstein visited United Artists to discuss his first script with UA executives. Shortly after the meeting began, Kalstein found himself being showered with compliments.

"Then," he recalled, "a chubby guy in a khaki blazer and stonewashed jeans barged into the room without knocking. He stuck out his chest and threw his arms skyward like an Olympic gymnast.

"'A 10! A perfect 10, baby!' he declared.

"My moment of glory -- ruined by the company's retarded janitor.

"Mirella stood up and introduced him. He was Bingham Ray, the president of United Artists and a well-respected cult-figure within New York film circles...

"'Dave's a writer,' Mirella explained. 'He's the guy behind Living off Interest.'

"'Right, right,' said Bingham, looking me up and down. I was trying to make eye contact, but he was staring at my hair as though it represented something more anthropologically revealing than a tangle of spikes and highly-flammable styling product. He wouldn't stop. 'Great hair, man. Better than mine!' He yanked off his baseball cap and displayed a pate of thinning hair. Was I supposed to feel bad for a balding guy who got to run United Artists? He was standing there sizing me up, running his fingers over his scalp. The room went silent.

"He grinned. 'But I got a great ass!' The president of United Artists turned around, lifted his blazer, and bent over..."

["It might be tough getting Bingham to back your movie," Kalstein was later told." "Why?" "He hates movies about rich and beautiful people."]

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