Book Title: The Chippendales Murders
Authors: K. Scot Macdonald and Patrick Montesdeoca
Publisher: Hachette India
Genre: True Crime
On the last day of his life, Tuesday, 7 April 1987, 46-year-old Nicholas “Nick” John De Noia stopped by his office on the fifteenth floor of 264 West 40th Street in Manhattan to pick up some business papers. Since 1981, De Noia had been working for Steve Banerjee, founder and owner of Chippendales, first as choreographer and then producer of the company’s male exotic stage show. Banerjee had gone to great lengths to convince the reluctant New Jersey native to take the job because De Noia was an excellent choice. His extensive credentials included production of a play at Washington’s famous Ford’s Theater, five Emmys for excellence in television, including one for a series of children’s fairy tales for NBC called the Unicorn Tales, and experience on Broadway.
By seeking to match the demanding artistic standards of Broadway, the lean, muscular De Noia transformed the Chippendales show from a bunch of muscle-bound jocks strutting, and often stumbling, around on stage into a professional, Vegas-style production with well-honed choreography, extravagant costumes and high-tech special effects that made the show an event of a lifetime for every lust-filled woman who attended. Although a Chippendales emcee described De Noia as “equal parts Julius Caesar, P.T. Barnum, the Marquis de Sade, and Bob Fosse,” the dancers loved him because the show became a phenomenal success, and the Chippendales dancers became international sex symbols.
By the mid-1980s, at a time when the average American household was bringing in $770 a week, the New York Daily News reported that Chippendales’ tour profits had hit $80,000 a week. Some nights the beefcake show made $25,000. Based on a 13 November 1984 deal with Steve Banerjee, scribbled on a paper restaurant napkin, Nick De Noia received half the profits from the tour shows. He was quickly becoming a wealthy man and, as a result of his many media appearances, had become known as Mr Chippendales.
That Tuesday afternoon in 1987 in New York, De Noia was on his way to Indianapolis where the Chippendales was scheduled to perform. Just after 3.30 p.m., De Noia, in blue jeans and an open-necked, dark dress shirt with a white grid pattern, looked up from his desk to see a Hispanic male walk into his office. The man was in his late thirties, neatly dressed in a dark tan, waist-length jacket, and blue jeans. He might have been the man who had called shortly before to make a 4.30 appointment for an audition, but not only was he far too early for the appointment, he was also clearly no dancer. At 5’ 7” and 145 pounds, he was far shorter and smaller than the dancers De Noia hired. He also looked ill, his cheekbones protruding against his taut, pockmarked skin.
“Are you Nick De Noia?” The man’s tone suggested this was not a question De Noia could refuse to answer.
“Yes,” De Noia acknowledged.
“You’re a dead man then,” the stranger said, pulling a 9 mm automatic handgun out of his waistband and levelling it at De Noia’s face. De Noia rose from behind his desk. The choreographer smiled as if it was a joke before a look of sheer panic crossed his face. The stranger pulled the trigger and fatally shot De Noia once just below the left eye.
This book excerpt is published with permission from Hachette India, K. Scot Macdonald, and Patrick Montesdeoca.
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