Howard Bingham, Muhammad Ali’s Photographer and Best Friend, Dies at 77
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Sports Illustrated and Life Magazine photographer Howard Bingham, who devoted much of his life to photographing the boxer known as Cassius Clay and Muhammad Ali and was his best friend, has died after a long illness at age 77. Bingham passed away at the Marina Point Rehabilitation Center in Culver City, California, where he went after dual surgeries. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, Bingham underwent brain surgery to remove a brain tumor, and also had his colon removed.
The son of a minister and Pullman porter, Bingham met Cassius Clay as a young newspaper reporter and photographed him frequently, an ongoing relationship which blossomed into a lifelong best friendship.
The inner circle of Muhammad Ali included: Angelo Dundee, Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Wali Muhammad, and Bundini Brown in his corner; Howard Cosell of ABC Sports; and photographer Howard Bingham. Of these gentlemen, only Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Muhammad Ali’s personal physician and corner man, who turned 89 years old on December 8, 2016, remains. Of Ali’s opponents in his 61 pro bouts, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Earnie Shavers, Joe Bugner, Karl Mildenberger, Chuck Wepner, and George Chuvalo, Jean-Pierre Coopman, Juergen Blin, Rudi Lubbers, Alfredo Evangelista, Leon Spinks, Brian London, and Al ‘Blue’ Lewis are among the better known ones who are still alive.