Bingham Ray, one of the coolest, smartest and most passionate fellows to work in indie-level distribution and one of the absolute stars of Peter Biskind‘s Down & Dirty Pictures, has died of a stroke suffered over the weekend in Park City, according to the Sundance Institute announcement and a Variety link that came through on my iPhone. He was a man of honor, and one of the funniest guys (with one of the darkest senses of humor) I’ve ever known in this racket. My heartfelt condolences to his friends, colleagues and especially his family.

Someone should organize an impromptu memorial service of some kind at the Eccles or the Egyptian. Really. Everyone who knew and loved him needs to take part in a huge joyous celebration while everyone’s still here…stories, laughter, booze. Bingham was a Sundance guy through and through. It was in his bloodstream, and this is where it should happen. Tomorrow, the next day…the sooner the better.

Ray was catching films at Sundance as the director (or whatever the precise title was) of the San Francisco Film Festival.