Gordon Parks, photographer: "Just a jewel of a guy." (Parks doesn't keep a photo of Ali on his wall; he keeps one of Ali and Bingham together.)
John Jay Hooker, former chairman of STP Corp., now running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Tennessee: "Some people kid Howard that he's a professional guest. But Howard is entitled because of how he acts. He's traveling this earth on a special passport. You know, if I learned I was going to die, I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do than spend some time with Howard Bingham."
And just as Bingham is loved by everybody who knows him, so does he somehow end up everywhere. "You know," he sighs, guilelessly, "I'm in history."
George Fisher, chairman of Kodak, says in amazement, "Sometimes I think there must be 10 of Howard. It's like he's everywhere."
Before Forrest Gump and before Zelig, there was an old gag about a little guy named Sam who was ubiquitous. The joke ends at St. Peter's Square on Easter morning as somebody in the crowd says, "I don't know who tire old man in the beanie is up on the balcony, but the guy with him is Sam." Thus: Howard. It surprised no one, really, that when O.J. Simpson left L.A. for Chicago in the middle of the night after practicing golf shots in the dark, Bingham was on that flight. And, naturally, at Simpson's trial, it was concluded that Bingham was the only witness both sides liked.
Johnnie Cochran, approaching the witness: "Are you a world-renowned photographer?"
Bingham: "The world's greatest."
Cochran: "So, we're clear about that."
Later, on cross-examination, when Marcia Clark made a passing reference to Bingham as an outstanding photographer, Judge Lance Ito interrupted: "Uh, the world's greatest."
Bingham: "You're a smart man, judge."