About Robert Bingham

By Sari Aviv '01 / July / August 2000
May 3rd, 2007
Six months after his marriage and in the same November week that page proofs of his first novel came off the press, Robert Bingham was found dead from an accidental heroin overdose in the bathroom of his New York City apartment. The scion of a storied Kentucky newspaper family, Bingham had a reputation for being different from other rich people. "He was without a snobbish bone in his body, able to empathize with people completely different from himself and extraordinarily generous with anyone he loved, believed in, pitied, admired, or was flattered by persistently enough," wrote Samantha Gillison on the Web magazine Salon.com. Bingham's death was an abrupt ending to a writing career still brimming with promise. After an early start - the New Yorker published his first story when he was twenty-six - Bingham earned a reputation for poignant portrayals of disaffected and burned-out rich young men. He also published the work of other similarly brilliant-yet-bizarre writers in Open City, a witty, provocative, and often dark literary magazine that Bingham cofounded and bankrolled. A review of his first collection of short stories, Pure Slaughter Value, said Bingham's work, "at its best, stands out for its precisely rendered and convincingly bleak view of life."
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July / August 2000