Somen Banerjee

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Somen "Steve" Banerjee
BornOctober 8, 1946
DiedOctober 23, 1994(1994-10-23) (aged 48)
Other namesSteve Banerjee
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, promoter
Known forFounder of Chippendales

Somen "Steve" Banerjee (Bengali: সোমেন বন্দোপাধ্যায়; October 8, 1946 – October 23, 1994) was an Indian felon, entrepreneur, and the founder of Chippendales.[1][2]


Somen Banerjee was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India[2] on October 8, 1946. He moved to the United States, where he operated a Mobil gas station and afterward a failed backgammon club. Banerjee bought a failed Los Angeles club named "Destiny II" and turned it into a nightclub that featured female mud wrestling and a "Female Exotic Dancing Night." The 1979 addition of a male stripper dance troupe performing to target female audiences was the first of its kind in the United States. Banerjee married an accountant, Irene, in the 1980s. They had three children — daughter Lindsay and son Christian, and oldest son Jesse.[3]

Banerjee was charged with enlisting the aid of Ray Colon, a former Palm Springs police officer and lounge room entertainer, to commit the murder of show producer Nick De Noia in 1987, and in 1990 and 1991, a plot to kill Michael Fullington, a former Chippendales dancer and choreographer, and two other ex-Chippendales dancers, who Banerjee felt were competition to the Chippendales franchise.[4][5][6] He eventually pleaded guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire. He entered into a plea bargain that would have led to 26 years in prison, and loss of his share of Chippendales.[citation needed] Irene had frantically managed to organize a group of character witnesses for him. She hoped it would sway the judge to reduce Steve’s penalty of 26 years.

In the early morning of October 23, 1994, hours before he was due to be sentenced, Banerjee was found dead in his cell, having hanged himself. Reports stated that while he was depressed, it was not thought he would take his own life.[1] When Banerjee died, Irene inherited the entire Chippendales outfit, including money, properties, and associated assets. She herself died February 8, 2001 from breast cancer.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

Banerjee has appeared in the following fictionalized portrayals:

Notable other attempts to film Banerjee's life story include by director Tony Scott in 2009,[11] by Trisha Ray and Salman Khan in 2016,[9] and by director Craig Gillespie and actor Dev Patel in 2020.[12]

Banerjee has also been the focus of several true crime and documentary series:


  1. ^ a b Weinstein, Henry (October 25, 1994). "Chippendale Club Owner Kills Himself: Crime: Somen Banerjee, founder of the male-stripper nightspot, is found dead in his cell. He was to be sentenced in the murder-for-hire of his former business partner". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ a b Ghosh, Paramita (2018-04-01). "The other side of Steve: A Bombay boy who founded Chippendales, America's first all-male strip club". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  3. ^ Lieberman, Hallie (September 13, 2021). "Steve Banerjee's Son Christian Wanted to Launch His Own Chippendales". Archived from the original on 14 September 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  4. ^ Reeves, Phil. "Cyanide in the beefcake: Somen Banerjee, inventor of the Chippendales, stands accused of much more than driving women crazy. Did he not hatch a plot to leave Blackpool strewn with dead Adonises?," The Independent (December 13, 1993).
  5. ^ "Strip Club Horror: 5 Shocking Facts About The Chippendales Murders". Oxygen Official Site. 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  6. ^ Weinstein, Henry (October 7, 1993). "Chippendale's Owner Indicted in Choreographer's 1987 Slaying: Crime: Somen Banerjee is accused of arranging the unsolved killing. The charges are part of an expanding investigation in the murder-for-hire case". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Mehrotra, Kriti (2022-11-22). "Irene Banerjee: How Did Steve Banerjee's Wife Die?". The Cinemaholic. Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  8. ^ Bianculli, David. "Murder Most Banal: Chippendales reveals little," Daily News (November 7, 2000).
  9. ^ a b c Dasgupta, Priyanka (9 September 2016). "Salman: 'Steve' Job: Bengali diaspora reacts to Salman's biopic on LA's male stripclub owner". The Times of India. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  10. ^ Canfield, David (2022-08-04). "'Welcome to Chippendales': Inside Kumail Nanjiani's Male Stripping Empire". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  11. ^ Brunton, Richard. "Tony Scott filming Chippendales biography," Filmstalker (Oct. 31, 2009).
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (2020-10-13). "Wild True-Story Tale Behind 'Chippendales' Murder Saga Gains Momentum As 'I, Tonya' Director Craig Gillespie Boards". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  13. ^ "Chippendales murder movie casts first lead role: Dev Patel plays Somen 'Steve' Banerjee". 2020-10-15. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  14. ^ "The Chippendales Murder - The 20/20 Event Special airs Friday at 9/8c on ABC". ABC News. October 8, 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  15. ^ Syme, Rachel (March 29, 2021). "Welcome To Your Fantasy". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-08-20.

External links[edit]