When Chippendales first introduced all-male striptease performances in the late 1970s, it was practically unheard of. These performances soon soared in popularity with women, and Chippendales became the go-to destination for many. However, in the years after that, issues between the owners behind the scenes led to a shocking story of murder, attempted murder, and suicide. Now, A&E’s ‘Secrets of the Chippendales’ delves into the company’s history and what became of a successful business. So, if you’re wondering the same, we’ve got you covered.
Is Chippendales Still Around?
Somen “Steve” Banerjee had owned a nightclub in Los Angeles, California, and in 1979, launched the first all-male stripper show at the venue. Over the next few years, it turned out that these shows made the club a highly profitable venture, and the entrepreneur in Steve wanted to expand on the success. This led to him hiring Nick De Noia, a television producer and choreographer.
At its height, Chippendales had clubs in several states, and Nick took them on the road, visiting many cities with dancers and putting on a show. At the time, Steve had signed over the rights to and half of the profits from touring in a now-infamous napkin deal to Nick. However, once it became clear that touring was a more profitable venture than the actual club, the relationship between Nick and Steve soured. This led to a murder-for-hire plot where Steve recruited someone to have Nick killed, ending with the choreographer’s murder in 1987.
After a guilty plea for the murder-for-hire plot, Steve killed himself while in prison in October 1994, before the scheduled sentencing hearing. Since then, Chippendales has changed owners but is still going strong. It has shows playing at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, continuing with the dancers wearing their trademark bowtie, collar, and shirt cuff costume.
Apart from the usual shows, they offer services for bachelorette parties and birthday parties, among others. While many other male revue shows have popped up since Chippendales’ inception, the latter is still considered a classic and garners a large crowd. Chippendales’ dancers were also supposed to go on a planned tour across the world, but it seems that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a pin in that for the time being.
Who Owns Chippendales Now?
During the 1990s, Lou Pearlman, a record producer who formed and managed the Backstreet Boys, bought the Chippendale brand. Lou wanted to turn it into a boy band at the time, but that turned out to be an unsuccessful venture. He later went to prison for fraud and died while in jail. According to a report from 2013, Chippendales is owned by several businessmen from New York.
Apart from the shows at the club, the company also sells licensed merchandise as part of the business. Furthermore, Steve’s son, Christian Banerjee, is also a stripper who launched his own company, Strippendales, in 2020. He hopes to reach the levels of fame his father’s company did during the 1980s.