My dad was guilty of the “Chippendales murder” and now I strip

Stripping is not a job for Christian Banerjee. It’s a spiritual calling.

“It wasn’t the fact that I wanted to be a stripper. It was my destiny,” Banerjee, 31, told the Post. “It wasn’t like I saw ‘Magic Mike’ and wanted to emulate what I saw. That came from a much deeper place in my soul.”

After all, Banerjee is a striptease scion.

In 1979, his late father, Somen “Steve” Banerjee — a paunchy but ambitious immigrant from Bombay, India — turned a Los Angeles bar into a male stripper den called Chippendales. He rose to dizzying heights in the 1980s, raking in millions from international tours and merchandise.

“No one was brave enough to send out male strippers. And no one has made money like my dad,” said the Huntington Beach, California resident, who started his own business. Stripping DaleEarly 2020. Unlike his father who was on the business side, Banerjee is also the circling talent.

But behind his family legacy — the G-strings and shiny warehouse veneer of the ’80s beefcake phenom — lies a bloody tale of greed, arson, FBI whistleblowers, and murder. A new four-part documentary seriesSecrets of the Chippendales Murders‘, which premieres Monday on A&E, examines the twisted history of the franchise.

Christian Banerjee, the son of the late Chippendales founder Steve Banerjee, hopes to establish his second-generation stripping fame with his company, Strippendales.
Christian Banerjee, the son of the late Chippendales founder Steve Banerjee, hopes to establish his second-generation stripping fame with his company, Strippendales.
Photo copyright John Chapple/ http://www.JohnChapple.com
Steve Banerjee founded Chippendales in 1979 and oversaw its international rise
Steve Banerjee founded Chippendales in 1979 and oversaw its international rise.

When his nightclub, teeming with shirtless men in bows and cuffs, became a major LA draw, Banerjee hired Nick De Noia, an Emmy-winning children’s producer. The flamboyant De Noia whipped the group from Adonis into a glitzy, Vegas-like squad and proposed opening a Big Apple location. He also proposed a deal, which he wrote on a napkin and said he would own the rights to then-nonexistent road shows in perpetuity. Banerjee signed it.

The New York club was a hit, and De Noia took credit for appearing on shows like Phil Donohue’s and Sally Jesse Raphael’s talk shows.

A weary Banerjee decided to have him killed and hired his sidekick Ray Colon, who hired a junkie named Louie Lopez to do the deed. In 1987, Lopez walked into De Noia’s Midtown office and shot him in the face. With the case left unsolved, an emboldened Banerjee struck a blow at two members of the rival troupe Adonis: Men of Hollywood.

Nick DeNoia on opening night at the Chippendales in New York
Nick De Noia on opening night at Chippendales in New York.
Courtesy of A&E

But the hired hitman got cold feet and reported it to the FBI, prompting a pause in De Noia’s murder. Banerjee was arrested and pled guilty to racketeering, murder and suicide in 1994. Before sentencing, he transferred the company to his wife Irene and hanged himself in his prison cell.

“My mom always said, ‘You don’t have to work a day in your life. There’s money in Swiss bank accounts,’” Banerjee said. According to the series, De Noia’s family and the Adonis targets filed lawsuits and were awarded a total of $38 million, but when lawyers recovered the money in Switzerland, nothing came up.

Chippendale dancers in their signature bows and cuffs
Chippendale dancers in their signature bows and cuffs.
Courtesy of A&E

“The only person who would know is my father, and he is dead,” Banerjee said.

His mother died of cancer in 2001, and younger Banerjee hopped between relatives during what he says was a turbulent childhood. He became a personal trainer and opened a supplement store, where he struck up a friendship with a female bodybuilder. “She told me she knew the founder of Chippendales,” referring to Bruce Nahin, who is billed as Banerjee’s attorney on the show.

“I told her, ‘No, the founder is dead. It was my dad.’ And that kindled a fire in me because I hadn’t heard from Chippendales in a while.”

Christian Banerjee is ready for his close-up striptease.
Christian Banerjee is ready for his striptease closeup.
Photo copyright John Chapple/ http://www.JohnChapple.com

He then turned to strip companies and landed a few gigs. “I saw other people dancing and said I needed to improve my game, so I started taking lessons. As I was doing my firefighter routine, I realized I didn’t want to do any other job in my life,” he said, adding that stripping gives him a “meaning.”

And he has big dreams for Strippendales. “I hope to have the same international fame that Chippendales has,” said Christian, who is single.

Dancing earns him a living, but it also creates a tangible connection to his late father, who despite his crimes is still Banerjee’s hero.

“People have a lot of opinions and that’s okay. He was a good guy…I always had this connection to my dad, even though he wasn’t alive, through Chippendales. I think he would want to push me in that direction. He would want to continue his legacy through his son.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/14/my-dad-was-guilty-of-chippendales-murder-and-now-i-strip/ My dad was guilty of the “Chippendales murder” and now I strip

Dais Johnston

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