Hulu’s true crime drama series Welcome to Chippendales is heading for a very dark turn as the finale approaches on Tuesday, January 3.
In Episode 3, audiences were introduced to Chippendales founder Steve Banerjee’s (played by Kumail Nanjiani) handyman Ray Colon, played by Tick, Tick…Boom! star Robin de Jesús, who will go on to play a key role in the sinister path Chippendales takes.
However, Colon also played a key role in exposing the truth about Banerjee and potentially preventing further murder-for-hire plots and arson attacks on Chippendale competitors.
So, what happened to Ray Colon and where is he now? Newsweek has everything you need to know.
What happened to Ray Colon?
In 1987, Steve Banerjee hired Ray Colon, a former Palm Springs police officer, and lounge room entertainer to murder Chippendales show producer Nick De Noia (Murray Bartlett).
Banerjee had grown frustrated with De Noia’s success after he parted ways with Banerjee to launch the highly lucrative Chippendales live tour. The pair had agreed on a deal that had been written on the back of a napkin, with De Noia receiving 50 percent of the profits from the touring Chippendales.
On April 7, 1987, De Noia, 46, was shot dead by a man posing as a messenger at his midtown Manhattan office. The man who pulled the trigger was not Colon, but Gilberto Rivera Lopez, someone Colon had hired.
Colon was also involved in setting fire to a rival Los Angeles strip club called Osko’s but very little was damaged and the club continued to be a huge success.
Speaking in A&E’s Secrets of Chippendales, Colon shared: “He asked me if I could burn it down. I could understand why he wanted it [burned] because it was packed, but it was humongous—three times as big Chippendales. So he threw $7,000 down…I just took it.”
Despite his biggest rival no longer living, Banerjee did not stop with De Noia.
In the 1990s, Banerjee plotted to kill Michael Fullington, a former Chippendales dancer and choreographer, and two other ex-Chippendales dancers, Read Scot and Steve White. They were then part of the rival dance troupe Adonis that was touring in the United Kingdom in July 1991.
Speaking in the Discovery+ documentary Curse of the Chippendales, Scot recalled being pulled off stage at an Adonis show in London.
He shared that a detective then told him “there is a contract out for your life. It’s going to be a cyanide injection…[Someone] will get close to you and inject you with a needle.”
The murder-for-hire plot was uncovered when a man, codenamed “Strawberry” by the authorities, informed the FBI he had been hired by Banerjee to carry out the killing and had been handed a bottle of cyanide by Colon for the murder.
Through Strawberry, the FBI was led to Colon, who eventually began to cooperate as an informant. He managed to secure Banerjee’s confession for plotting to murder Fullington, Scot, and White, as well as orchestrating De Noia’s death. Colon also managed to secure Lopez’s murder confession relating to De Noia.
Banerjee was accused of three arson attempts, leading to minor damage at two competitor bars: Moody’s Disco in Santa Monica in 1979 and the Red Onion Restaurant & Bar in Marina del Rey in 1985. He had abandoned the third attempt on another rival bar.
Colon pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from the murder-to-hire plot and agreed to testify against Banerjee in return for reduced sentences.
Banerjee pleaded guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire. He accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
However, on October 23, 1994, just a few hours before he was due to be sentenced, Banerjee was found dead in his prison cell, having died by suicide. He was 47 years old.
Where is Ray Colon now?
Following Banerjee’s death in 1994, Colon served two years in federal prison and house arrest. He was officially released in June 1996.
Lopez, who pulled the trigger, was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Speaking in A&E’s Secrets of the Chippendales Murders, Colon recalled organizing the murder of Nick De Noia, describing it as the moment he “sold his soul.”
“I should have at that point stopped it, but I didn’t,” he said.
Unfortunately, very little is known about Ray Colon’s whereabouts today.
If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day. Or dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
New episodes of Welcome to Chippendales premiere Tuesdays on Hulu.