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Steven Bingen

Steven Bingen is an author, archivist, historian, and contributor to dozens of books, articles, and documentaries regarding film history.

For nearly two decades, Steven worked as an archivist/staff historian at Warner Bros. Studio. While there, he was responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and preserving that legendary company’s physical assets and its intangible legacy. He also spent a lot of time crawling around storied studio backlots, underground catacombs, and cavernous soundstages.

In 2011, Steven moved from those soundstages to the written word and published MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot, which was notable for being the first significant volume ever published about a movie studio as a physical and architectural location. Featuring an introduction by actress Debbie Reynolds, the book’s surprise success (4 printings in the first 18 months) was also matched by enthusiastic reviews. Jeanine Basinger in the Wall Street Journal marveled about how the book managed to “present MGM as a concrete environment without losing the wonder and magic that were its product.” Praise from within the Hollywood community included accolades from celebrities and filmmakers ranging from Clint Eastwood to Angela Lansbury.

The MGM volume was followed by Warner Bros: Hollywood’s Ultimate Backlot (2014) about his longtime alma mater, Paramount: City of Dreams (2016), Hollywood’s Lost Backlot: 40 Acres of Glamor and Mystery (2018), Easy Rider: Fifty Years Searching for America (2019), The MGM Effect: How a Hollywood Studio Changed the World, and 50 MGM Films that Transformed Hollywood (both 2022).

Steven Bingen’s career as a film historian has benefited greatly from the insight that comes from decades of toiling in the very business about which he writes, allowing him to combine an enduring fascination with movies with an insider’s fluent, sometimes cynical comprehension of the business and its culture. This probably also makes him one of the few movie authors who have actually gotten their hands dirty on a movie set.

Steven is also that rarest of Hollywood commodities: a produced screenwriter. He penned the cult favorite The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, which you will all surely remember as the lowest-grossing commercially released film of 2012.

Not at all surprisingly, Steven Bingen lives in Los Angeles—the world’s largest backlot.

Saturday, April 20
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Club TCM at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel