Nick De Noia’s Murder: What Happened to Chippendales’ Choreographer?

Image Credit: Discovery+'s Curse of the Chippendales

With the core history of the Chippendales being one of the most baffling owing to sex, murder, money, greed, and drugs, it’s no surprise that a lot of films as well as series’ have covered the same. After all, whether it be the 2000 movie ‘The Chippendales Murder’ or the Hulu limited miniseries ‘Welcome to Chippendales,’ they all delve into the pioneering all-male strip joint’s dark side. In other words, they explore the way its initial success eventually led to the slaying of creative director Nick De Noia.

How Did Nick De Noia Die?

While some in the entertainment industry reportedly remember Nicholas John De Noia Jr. AKA Nick as selfish and controlling in his work, many others remember him as charming and extremely talented. However, despite the fact that he was the epitome of how people are complicated, with there always being two sides to a story, he did not deserve the end he met in his mid-40s back in 1987. That’s because the director, screenwriter, and choreographer was brutally murdered while simply sitting in his 15th-floor office at 264 West 40th Street in Manhattan, New York, on April 7, 1987.

Discovery+’s Curse of the Chippendales

By this point, Nick was actually a two-time Emmy Award winner for his NBC’s ‘Unicorn Tales’ musical short films, created exclusively for the educational enjoyment of a young television audience. He’d also taken Chippendales to new heights with his creativity before splitting it up with founder Somen “Steve” Banerjee and getting rights to the touring company rather than the original club. But alas, it all came to an end on that fateful day (around seven years since the partition) as someone barged right into Nick’s workplace and shot him in the face with a large caliber pistol.

Who Killed Nick De Noia?

According to reports, Nick De Noia’s homicide was initially theorized as the end result of a love triangle gone wrong, especially as it came to light that he was reportedly a closeted bisexual man with a secret lover. Yet, with little to no evidence to go off on, the investigations into the matter dragged, that is, until all-male strip clubs targeted specifically at women started popping up across the nation in 1991. Hence, Chippendales faced extreme competition, leading to it losing dancers, employees, as well as clients, only for its Indian-born owner, Steve, to decide he needed to completely crush its traitors.

Somen “Steve” Banerjee//Image Credit: New York Post

Apart from focusing solely on the business side of things to do so, Steve enlisted the help of a former police officer, lounge room entertainer, and associate, Ray Colon, to commit murder. His different marks in the early 1990s were reportedly three former Chippendales workers — dancer-choreographer Michael Fullington, thriving producer Steve White, and dancer Read Scot. He had apparently already demanded contracts from venues specifying that they’ll ban other groups from performing there for a year, yet it wasn’t enough for him in the larger scheme of things.

As the Chippendales’ owner, Steve managed to fully buy back the touring side of the venture following Nick’s tragic demise, and that’s when the dots regarding the 1987 homicide started to connect. Because this particular aspect of the entire exotic franchise was arguably the most lucrative, something the former had failed to see prior, he reportedly tried to take it over from his business partner. However, once that failed, he thought getting rid of Nick entirely would make the most sense.

Ray Colon

Steve proceeded to talk to Ray Colon, who, in turn, hired a man named Gilberto Lopez as the hitman. But in 1991, Ray turned to a different individual for the three hits, just for them to contact the FBI when they realized they couldn’t go through with the ordeal, which brought everything to light. The officials subsequently hauled the former in for questioning, who quickly confessed Steve was behind the 1987 murder of the choreographer as well as the plots to kill the former employees. Ray then wholly cooperated with the FBI.

Ray even agreed to wear a wire in the hopes of getting Steve to incriminate himself on tape, which actually worked when they met in person abroad — in Zurich, Switzerland. Steve was arrested in September 1993, and less than a year later, in July 1994, he pleaded guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire in exchange for 26 years in prison. Yet, mere hours before he was supposed to be sentenced on October 23, 1994, Steve took his own life by hanging himself in his jail cell.

As for Ray, or Augustine Ralph Angel Colon, he ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy and murder for hire in exchange for 15 years behind bars, which was later reduced to a lenient 2½ years. On the other hand, triggerman Gilberto Rivera was reportedly convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to a total of 25 years to life in prison.

Read More: Was Nick De Noia Gay or Bisexual in Real Life?