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Meet Somen "Steve" Banerjee- Founder of World's Largest Male-Stripping Empire "Chippendales"

Notably Somen "Steve" Banerjee's controversial life turned him into a subject of gossip, and self-censorship in Bengali immigrant communities.

Meet Somen Steve Banerjee- Founder of Worlds Largest Male-Stripping Empire Chippendales

Sentinel Digital Desk

Let us go back to a untold story of a bengali young entrepreneur who immigrant to the United States and became the improbable founder of the world's largest male-stripping empire.

Notably his controversial life has turned him into a subject of gossip, and self-censorship in Bengali immigrant communities.

Somen Banerjee was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India on October 8, 1946.

After operating a Mobil gas station and 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 partnered with Paul Snider (eventual killer of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten) but shortly afterwards developed a more theatrical show with Emmy award-winning producer Nick De Noia.

Banerjee was charged with enlisting the aid of Ray Colon, former Palm Springs police officer and lounge room entertainer, to commit the murder of show producer De Noia in 1987, and in 1990 and '91, 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.

He eventually pleaded guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire. He entered into a plea agreement that would have led to 26 years in prison, and loss of his share of Chippendales.

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 Banerjee was depressed, it was not thought he would take his own life.

On the other hand, actor Naveen Andrews portrayed him in the 2000 television movie The Chippendales Murder, and Shelley Malil portrayed him in the 2002 movie Just Can't Get Enough.

In 2009, director Tony Scott was reportedly working on a film about Banerjee and the Chippendales story. In 2016, Trisha Ray and Salman Khan were reportedly working on a film based on Banerjee's life.

In 2020, Deadline reported an upcoming film based on Banerjee's life, starring Dev Patel.

In 2001, Banerjee was the subject of an episode of The FBI Files entitled "Backstage Murder" (Season 3, Episode 13).

He is also the central focus of the first episode of Welcome to Your Fantasy, a 2021 serial podcast telling the Chippendales story, as well as the Season 43 (2021) premiere episode of ABC's 20/20, "The Chippendales Murders"

It is to mentioned here that Hulu has officially revealed the date when we'll get to say Welcome to Chippendales. Formerly titled Immigrant, the true crime epic limited series stars Kumail Nanjiani and explores the wild origins of the exotic male stripper company and its India-born creator Somen "Steve" Banerjee.

The series' original title was in reference to Banerjee, the focus of the series who became the unlikely owner of the largest male stripping empire in the world. Banerjee arrived from India in search of fortune in the U.S.


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