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What happened to Daniel Maner on “Moonshiners”?



Daniel Maner enjoyed a bit of fame when he joined the reality television show “Moonshiners,” which brought the spotlight on the shadowy world of moonshining. The Discovery Channel program offers an intimate look into the clandestine moonshining activities including the moonshiners’ daily lives as they looked for the perfect spot in the woods, evaded the authorities, and tackled the difficulties they encountered when they sold their finished product. Since Daniel’s debut in the show, he was part and parcel of the drama, adventure, and nostalgia-tinged journey with the other master distillers, who held viewers’ attention, making the series one of the most-watched on the cable channel.

Brief background on moonshine and moonshining

The alcoholic beverage known as moonshine gained a level of notoriety during the Prohibition era of the US 1930s due to its illegal production, which had long been an intriguing and contentious aspect of American history. Some people believed that the exotic taste and quality of each bottle of moonshine eclipsed whatever was being offered even in the bars and pubs, when available.

Moonshine and its Origins

In today’s world, “moonshine” often caused confusion for those who weren’t familiar with its history. It was originally associated with the word “moonshining” coined by the British, which meant activities done under the cover of the moonlight. Traditionally, moonshine is referred to as a strong alcoholic beverage, often described as aged whiskey manufactured and sold illegally. It wasn’t that way originally, as there were some grain-producing farmers back in the early 1800s who were freely distilling alcoholic beverages before the government started regulating them. These farmers protested, which led to an era known as the Whiskey Rebellion. However, it didn’t mean that one couldn’t find a bottle labeled “moonshine” in a liquor store today, made by licensed distiller, and which could be distributed legally around the country.


Moonshining restrictions and imposed taxes

Sometime in the 16th century, it was said that the early settlers from Europe, mostly Scottish-Irish immigrants, brought their distilling methods with them to (then) the colonies. They shared it with the community, and moonshining became an art in places around the Appalachian Mountains. When the country became involved in wars, particularly in the Civil War, the US government imposed taxes on the alcohol industry to help offset the expenses it incurred. They passed a law called the 1862 Revenue Act, which required distillers to get a license to produce alcoholic beverages, including both homebrewed spirits and imported ones. The restrictions encouraged most of the distillers to resort to moonshining, in which the alcoholic beverages were produced at night, under the moonlight, in some secret place away from the towns to evade the authorities. Most moonshiners believed that the restrictions placed on moonshiners boiled down to taxes, and not really to the safety of how they were produced.

All about “Moonshiners,” the reality TV show

When teasers of the debut season of “Moonshiners” were released by Discovery Channel, it easily gained interest from the viewing public. Anything that would depict clandestine operations – including the actual moonshining activities – was enough to lure people to watch each episode of the TV series.

The premise, inspiration, and premiere of “Moonshiners”

“Moonshiners” featured a group of people who practiced the art of making illegal alcoholic beverages. It focused largely on the Appalachian region of the US including North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. The reality TV series was highly inspired by a documentary on the life of an legendary American moonshiner named Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton. He was quite adept at producing moonshine, as he came from a long line of moonshiners, and many current moonshiners such as Daniel Maner had great respect for the man. However, one of Popcorn’s self-destructive traits was shooting his mouth off about his colorful activities to anyone who would to listen, which led to his arrest at 72 years old. He was out on bail, waiting for his trial to start, when he decided to take his own life instead of facing the possibility that he might spend the remaining years of his life in federal prison.

Moonshining has been a deeply ingrained custom, but in the past decade, its practice has slowly deteriorated, and some have even called it a lost art, that is until the TV show started airing, which premiered on 6 December 2011. Each episode transported viewers on a fascinating adventure, as the moonshiners engaged in a variety of activities, including establishing their own homemade stills, selling moonshine, and dodging police officers tracking them.

Controversy about its authenticity

“Moonshiners” was categorized as a reality TV show, and when supposed illegal activities were filmed and aired, viewers wondered why there were no arrests made, as the moonshiners in the show never covered their faces. During its first season alone, it generated about three million viewers, and it wasn’t a surprise that allegations of the show being scripted surfaced online; fans talked about its authenticity or lack thereof in social media. Magilla Entertainment, the production company behind it, was quite smart in including in its debut season the Virginia ABC Bureau law enforcement agency. It kind of gave the audience a sense of cat and mouse vibe that the agents were out there looking for the moonshiners.

However, it turned out that the agents never had any direct interactions with the moonshiners in the show. The agency felt that they had been used to provide credibility to the series. When they were interviewed about it, they said that they never thought the producers would pass off the scenes that showed illegal activities as real to the audience. They demanded that the cable streaming giant, Discovery Channel, provide a disclaimer whenever they aired an episode, that it was all for dramatization purposes, but they never did. The stars of the show said that an arrest could only be made if caught in the act of manufacturing moonshine. The show might be under the genre of reality TV, but it wasn’t airing live or in real-time and so the chance of any of the cast members such as Daniel Maner being arrested was quite slim. It was revealed later on that most of the cast members were actually licensed distillers, but producers still insisted that the show was as real as it could get.


Get to know Daniel Maner

Moonshiner Daniel Maner grew up in Tennessee, where he learned the art of moonshining that was passed down from generation to generation in his family. From his brief biography on Discovery Channel’s official website, he was described as an expert welder and a custom 4×4 builder. He was the go-to guy of other respected moonshiners in the TV series such as Mark Ramsey and Eric “Digger” Manes, whenever they needed another partner to fulfill huge orders of moonshine. Daniel was generally acknowledged as a likable person with a calm and trustworthy character. It was also reported that his day job was as an expert mechanic in a company called Blalock Companies, located in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Little information about his personal life was shared with the public, and according to some social media accounts that his family supposedly uses, Daniel has a wife named Kimberly Patrick, an Admissions Co-ordinator at Smokey Mountain Post-Acute and Rehabilitation Center,  whom he married on 13 June 1999; they’d met when they both attended Sevier County High School. During their 23rd wedding anniversary, Kimberly uploaded a wedding photo on her Facebook account and captioned it, ‘We fight like cats and dogs but at the end of the day, there is nobody I would rather spend my life with.’ They have two children, Dalton, a high school senior, and Skyler, an eighth-grader.

Daniel Maner’s interesting moments in “Moonshiners”

By the seventh season of “Moonshiners,” the producers came up with a disclaimer during the opening credits of an episode: ‘Anyone making moonshine risks life-threatening injury or time in prison. Do not attempt any of this at home.’ Daniel knew the risks, but chose to continue manufacturing moonshine. He said that while he said goodbye to the illegal practice for quite some time, it never left his blood.

First appearance in the TV series

Daniel Maner was introduced in “Moonshiners” during the 11th episode of the seventh season of the series aired in 2017. Mike Cockrell, one of the regular moonshiners and Daniel’s old buddy, was looking for another pair of hands with experience to help him make moonshine to achieve his goal that season. He already had 185 gallons in his stash but he needed 415 gallons more. While Daniel had security concerns, he agreed to help his friend as the lure to go back to his moonshining roots was too good to pass up, even if at that time, he wouldn’t be getting a 50-50 deal. He hadn’t made moonshine for quite some time and was a bit rusty, but Mike was confident that Daniel would get back to his old self in no time.

An accident occurred in his first episode

The risk associated with moonshining didn’t always come from being discovered by law enforcement agents. While in the process of making Apple Blueberry moonshine near the secluded wooded area somewhere on the Tennessee border, one of the unsecured caps of the distilling pot blew off. They were stunned since it initially ran pretty well, and they were just waiting for the process to finish. It turned out they’d made a critical error during the set-up, and both realized how fortunate they were as no one was hurt or killed. It could have been much worse with fireballs exploding, if it happened at a much later stage when there would be too much steam and pressure inside the pots. Since it was during the early part of the run, the incident only left them with a dented pot and the loss of just a few gallons of liquor. During the confessional interview, Mike said he was curious as to what Daniel felt during the incident, and if it discouraged him from moonshining. He never expected that they would come across some hair-raising incident during Daniel’s “Welcome Back Training Day.”


Brought up memories during his first run

Notwithstanding the little accident that Daniel experienced on his first day, he admitted that he was happy just being there. He said that he was out of the game for quite a long while and just the smell of the mash brought back old memories of him being in the woods running here and there to make moonshine. He said, ‘It’s a wonderful feeling and I’m just glad to be in it.’ Mike felt the same thing and said he was just grateful that he had Daniel with him because it would take too much of his time if he was alone doing it. The old buddies were happily making moonshine while catching up with what happened to their individual lives over the years. They eventually produced 10 gallons of moonshine that night despite the mishap.

Received help from people he least expected to come to his aid

Daniel had an accident in the ninth season too, and he ended up with back pain that hampered his ability to earn money. He couldn’t properly walk, and even moving caused him pain, so he didn’t have any choice but to stay at home and recuperate. At that time, he was visited by Mark and Digger, who brought four boxes of moonshine and gave them to him as a gift. They said that they knew that things would be hard for him financially, so the liquor could help him until he was back on his feet again. They said that he could do whatever he wanted with it, and Daniel said that it could fetch him around $1,200. Daniel was overwhelmed by the help, especially since it came from people he least expected.

Apparently, his old buddy Mike, to whom he provided assistance in producing moonshine in the seventh season, never showed up or even reached out to him. In fact, Mike dropped him like a hot potato and looked for another partner. Mark said, ‘Mike isn’t from around here. He doesn’t know our ways. We’re mountain people, it’s what we do.’ Digger told Daniel to just pay it forward when someone in the future needed help as well. Fans collectively agreed based on social media comments, that it was smart and sensitive of the two older guys to bring free liquor instead of giving Daniel money, because they knew it would have hurt his pride.

Partnered with Mark and Digger

Mike Cockrell approached him again, and asked for his help in producing moonshine upon receiving a huge batch of orders, and even offered to split the profit in three. Daniel declined, saying that there was still a bit of animosity between them although, he still agreed to meet Mike for old-time’s sake. It was fortunate that Mark and Digger reached out to him if he wanted a spot in their team, because at that time, even if Daniel worked as a mechanic and fabricator, business was kind of slow. The two older men trusted Daniel as he was quite upfront and fair with his moonshine dealings, and wanted him to be part of their group. Fans of “Moonshiners” were happy that Daniel found solid guys to work with, because most of them felt that his old buddy Mike was selfish and arrogant. Mark and Digger were happy too that they had Daniel on their side, as they felt more at ease in producing hundreds of gallons of moonshine as he knew what he was doing in the woods.


Appeared in “Moonshiners: Master Distiller”

Discovery Channel executives and producers liked what Daniel Maner contributed to the table, and included him in the show’s spin-off series entitled “Moonshiners: Master Distiller,” which premiered in July 2019. This series centers around the art and science of legally distilling spirits rather than the illegal moonshining activities portrayed in the main series. The cast members, who were all licensed distillers, provided viewers with an in-depth look into the world of legal craft distilling and the expertise required to create high-quality spirits. The core concept of the show revolves around a thrilling competition format, in which highly skilled distillers proudly exhibit their abilities and extensive knowledge.

In the 10th episode of the third season, Daniel competed with moonshiners Josh Owens and Mike Cockrell. In this thrilling episode, the panel of judges comprised of the old timers in the TV series was joined by esteemed guest judge Danielle Parton. Together, they presided over a high-stakes competition in which the three contestants courageously put their cherished family recipes on the line. These multi-generational moonshine legacies faced the ultimate challenge as they strive to endure the test of time and emerge victorious. Fans of Daniel rejoiced that night as he was declared the winner of that family recipe competition.

2023 update on what’s going on with Daniel Maner

After making his debut in “Moonshiners” in 2018, Daniel stayed with the reality TV series up to its latest season, which started airing in November 2022, and ended in April 2023. In 2022, Discovery Channel produced another spin-off series called “Master Distiller Tournament of Champions,” and included Daniel as one of the competitors. This time, viewers get to experience the pinnacle of moonshining excellence, as the contestants would earn the coveted opportunity to go head-to-head with the formidable Mark, Digger or Tim, who are considered the titans in the moonshining industry.

As the Managing Editor at The Legit, I direct a dynamic team dedicated to creating rich content that profiles the lives and accomplishments of influential figures. My commitment to detail and storytelling drives the production of biographies that truly engage our audience. I manage all aspects of the editorial process, from conducting thorough research to crafting vivid narratives, all while ensuring the accuracy and quality of our work. At The Legit, our goal is to offer our readers comprehensive profiles that provide deep insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Through diligent research and engaging storytelling, we highlight the exceptional journeys and achievements of those who both inspire and intrigue us.

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The Rise and Fall of “American Hot Rod”: What Went Wrong?



Boyd Coddington, the creative visionary who elevated hot rodding into an art form, was hailed by many as the “King of Hot Rods”, being largely credited for creating the hot rod craze on the West Coast, with many of his creations reaching legendary status. The Vern Luce Coupe put him on the map, and the CadZZilla was acclaimed as one of the most authentic and original car customizations in the world. He headlined “American Hot Rod” aired on Warner Bros. Discovery-owned TLC and Discovery Channel from 2004 to 2007, ending with his death in 2008.

A brief history of American hot rodding

A hot rod is usually referred to as an American car modified or rebuilt to improve its look and make it unique, as well as to optimize its speed and acceleration; its predecessors were said to be the modified cars used by bootleggers during the Prohibition era to evade the authorities. Hot rods made their first appearance sometime in the 1930s in Southern California, as car enthusiasts raced them on the Mojave Desert’s dry lake beds. Car clubs were formed, and the Southern California Timing Association was established in 1937 to bring them together and organize racing events.

America officially entered World War II in 1941, which put a halt to everything, as those young hot rodders joined the military, and gasoline was rationed. When the war ended, new cars were in short supply; however, the veterans put their mechanical and technical training to good use to modify old cars, and hot rodding became popular again. The Hot Rod Magazine was first published In 1948,, feeding the interest of gearheads and promoting hot rodding on a nationwide scale.

People street raced, which resulted in dangerous situations, sometimes with fatalities. This prompted the creation of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) as a governing body for hot rodding, to create standards and rules for competitions. In 1963, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) was formed to bring together original equipment manufacturers, aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and media.


Hot rodding as a hobby had waned in the 1960s, and muscle cars designed for high-performance driving and drag racing became the new trend; they were affordable and could outperform old hot rods. However, the 1973 Oil Crisis resulted in a shift of focus by car manufacturers, from performance to fuel efficiency, which caused the resurgence of hot rodding. The Chevy small-block engine became the most popular choice for hot rodders during that period.

In the 1970s, Boyd Coddington began to make a name for himself in building unique hot rods; his work was celebrated by the automotive industry and car enthusiasts from all over.

The Life of Boyd Coddington

Idaho native Boyd Leon Coddington was born on 28 August 1944, to Harold and Lorna Sparrow Coddington – his father was a dairy farmer who later became the owner of a landscaping company when the family moved to Salt Lake City. Even as a young child, Boyd was into cars and hot rods, devouring magazines about them whenever he could. He had an early start designing, constructing, and welding car parts, and got his first truck, a 1931 Chevrolet pickup, when he was still three years shy of legally driving it – it was said that he traded a shotgun to acquire it. Boyd studied to become a machinist at a technical trade school, and was an apprentice for three years at a machine shop.

To pursue his dreams, he moved to Southern California in 1968. He worked the graveyard shift at Disneyland in Anaheim as a machinist, and constructed hot rods during his free time in his home garage. As his skills in improving the look of a car became well-known, it also became his main source of income. He opened his auto shop in 1977 called Hot Rods by Boyd, and his unique style and cutting-edge skills drew people to his shop.

He and Diane Elkins, an industrial nurse, met on a blind date in January 1971, and three months later, they were married. They had two kids together, Christopher and Gregory. Boyd had a son from his first wife, Peggy King, whom he married in 1965 and divorced a few years later – he and Diane divorced in 1996.

He along with his second wife, Diane, and his kids relocated in 1978 to Orange Avenue at Buena Park where he put a 1,000-square-foot garage at the back of the house as his shop. Two months after they moved, he quit his job at Disneyland to focus on hot rod building.

The Billet Movement – Revolutionized the industry

Billet wheels are entirely designed and manufactured using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) process, meaningt that a machine carved out the whole design and shape. There are plenty of configuration options available for customization, such as different lug nut and back spacing configurations, as well as one-off design patterns.

Master hot rodder John “Lil’ John” Buttera was Boyd’s friend and mentor; they worked together to make custom-fabricated alloy wheels known as billet. When they couldn’t find or buy a part they wanted for their creations, they made one from aluminum. Boyd credited Lil’ John for inventing the billet wheel, machining the first set of wheels and billet parts, but the former took it to another level. He manufactured and marketed billet wheels when he established Boyd Wheels Inc.

The two collaborated often, as Lil’ John did chassis design and machine work on some of Boyd’s early cars. Later on, they were engaged in a one-upmanship game – when Lil’ John built the 1927 Model T Ford sedan, Boyd followed suit and constructed a 1926 T. Lil’ John’s 1929 Ford Model A roadster inspired Boyd to make the “Silver Bullet,” described by Street Rodder Magazine as a ‘striking blend of traditional styling, contemporary rodding and innovation.’

The Vern Luce Coupe – Defined an era of hot rodding

Boyd’s then-wife, Diane, described Vern Luce as a very quiet and unassuming guy, who loved cars and often hung around the shop. One of his sons, Chris, remembered him as the “candy man,” who brought treats whenever he visited, as he owned a candy company. No one would have guessed that the transformation of his 1933 Ford Coupe by Boyd’s crew would create a huge impact that was said to have changed the landscape of hot rodding, with its sleek styling and smooth look.

It set the stage for what would be known as the ‘Boyd Look” in which everything was shaved with no door handles and hinges. The Vern Luce Coupe bagged the Al Slonaker Award in 1981 at the Oakland Roadster Show for its technical excellence. Thom Taylor, a graduating student from Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design at that time, made the design, but it took a team of talented individuals to actually make it happen.


CadZZilla – A one-of-a-kind car

One of the most iconic auto customizations ever constructed by Boyd was the CadZZilla, commissioned by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons in 1989. It was designed by one of Cadillac’s head designers, Larry Erickson, and built by metal artisan, Craig Naff. The 1948 Cadillac Sedanette was initially going to be a ‘simple’ customization project but it didn’t quite fit the unique style of the rock band’s guitarist and main vocalist, so further changes were made to the design to make it more revolutionary; Craig then set to work on it. The car featured ‘a chopped roofline, fully welded front clip with a sectioned hood and front fender combination that tilts open in one fell swoop,’ along with ‘Frenched headlights and custom tapering along the sides of the car that flows effortlessly into the lowered and fully blended rear quarters.’

Filed for bankruptcy

Boyd’s businesses had grown so big and successful that they went public in 1995 in an Initial Public Offering on the NASDAQ. However, Boyd filed for personal bankruptcy in 2001, as he lacked the means to pay off debts amounting to $529,000, having listed only $8,800 in assets. The debts were incurred by Hot Rods by Boyd and Boyds Wheels, which went bankrupt three years prior. Although Boyd Wheels reportedly had nearly $30 million in annual sales, it ran out of cash, and its credit line was frozen. Apparently, it ramped up production just when the market dwindled for high-end custom wheels, and its assets were liquidated. Creditors filed a lawsuit against Boyd as they claimed that he used company assets for personal gain, which he denied.

The lawyer for the unsecured creditors was surprised by Boyd’s move, and was suspicious of Boyd Coddington Wheels and Boyd Coddington Garage, the two companies that his son, Boyd Coddington Jr., established. His son said that his father’s financial and legal troubles would not affect these new businesses in any way, shape, or form, as it appeared that Boyd had no stake in them, and only drew a nominal salary.

However, there was some legal dispute over the use of his name in the new ventures. The Automotive Performance Group, which gained control of his previous businesses, sued them for trademark infringement, which was later settled when Body agreed to use his full name instead.

Starting over

Many were surprised when Boyd was seen attending the Street Ride Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, after his businesses collapsed and his reputation was ruined. Unlike in the past when he had his whole entourage with him, and his trademark hot rods were put on display, this time around, he only brought a small card table on which aluminum car wheels were all laid out. Someone approached him and asked how he could go on, and if he was embarrassed by what happened. Boyd simply told him, ‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.’ and said that he had no intention of quitting.

According to reports, he sold some of his real estate holdings for $1.5 million and his Ferrari for $150,000 to have funds for his new ventures, saying that he wanted to prove that he could still do it. Naturally he encountered obstacles, as some were skeptical about how the new company would fare. While mentioning his name was met with derision, especially from some automotive insiders, it seemed that there were people who still believed in him, or at least his designs. The sales from Boyd Coddington Wheels business had picked up, as it benefited from the resurgence of demand for custom wheels. As for Boyd Coddington Garage, it was fully operational too, and had sold vehicles worth $100,000 to $450,000. By all appearances, it seemed that he was right when he claimed that he was back in the game.

Lil’ John once said that one of the reasons for Boyd’s downfall was that he believed in his own press, that anything with his name on it would sell. However, Boyd claimed that he’d learned from his past mistakes. He said, ‘I learned about the American dream and then about the American nightmare. I’m trying to build the American dream again.’


Chip Foose and Jesse James began their careers at Boyd’s shop

His auto shop might have had a high turnover rate, but no one could dispute the fact that the hot rods that he built were exceptional. It was said that this was largely due to his team. Boyd had a keen eye for talent, and he made sure that he employed the best in their field. Most notable personalities that worked at his shop included Jesse James of “Monster Garage” and Chip Foose of “Overhaulin’”, long before they gained fame from their own automotive-related reality TV shows.

From what fans could glean from an interview with Chip, in the past it seemed that there was friction between the two guys and that it had something to do with whether Chip was given proper credit for his designs that came out of Boyd’s shop in the 1990s. It was also reported that there were properties that Chip believed to be his that were affected when one of Boyd’s companies went bankrupt. When Boyd died, Chip released a statement that read, ‘I appreciate all of the opportunities Boyd offered me while I worked with him and I owe a large part of my career and success to the great working relationship we had.’ He said that Boyd, who was like a second father to him, allowed all his employees the freedom to create, design and fabricate the best in custom vehicles.

Jesse who had his start at Boyd’s shop had said, ‘He just had the eye for cleanliness and design. The cars that came out of that original hot rod shop were amazing examples of graceful craftsmanship.’

“American Hot Rod”

Boyd’s creativity and personality seemed perfect for a reality television show. The bearded and bespectacled hot rodder was easily recognizable as he regularly donned Hawaiian shirts. He came across as loud, sharp-tongued, and cantankerous, so there was a lot of tension and drama at the shop, especially when deadlines were fast approaching. However, those who knew him and had been in his shop for years said that they had never seen Boyd work like that.

“American Hot Rod” premiered in 2004, and it followed Boyd and his crew as they constructed hot rods and custom cars at his shop in La Habra, California. The creation of one custom car was chronicled in three to four episodes, with each episode lasting an hour.

It ran for five seasons, and some of the work his team had done included the hand-made roadster nicknamed the Alumatub, the classic 1942 Woodie, the 1961 Chevy Impala Bubbletop, and an Elvis tribute car.


Convicted for fraud

In 2005, the State of California accused Boyd of fraud for allegedly passing off his custom-fabricated cars as ‘antique cars’ or older than they actually were in the titles submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles; this was reportedly done to avoid tax obligations and emissions control regulations. Boyd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge before the Sacramento County Superior Court, and was ordered to perform 160 hours of community service and pay a $3,000 fine.

His death at age 63

It was announced on 27 February 2008, that Boyd died at the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier due to complications following surgery for a perforated colon, and kidney complications along with sepsis. He was a long-time diabetic, and had been admitted to hospital on 31 December 2007. Shortly after New Year’s Eve, he was released only to undergo surgery a few days later. He was survived by his third wife, Jo McGee, whom he married in 2002, and five children from three marriages.

His legacy

Boyd Coddington changed the world of hot rodding. What set him apart from other hot rodders was that he designed and manufactured almost every part of the vehicle he constructed – his work set the standards for custom car design. He bagged the highly coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award six times, which was unprecedented, won the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award twice, and in 1988, he was Hot Rod magazine’s “Man of the Year,” and the 1933 Ford Coupe that he built landed on the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine.

Boyd was inducted into the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame, Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, Route 66 Hall of Fame, and SEMA Hall of Fame.

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The Saddest Stories Ever Featured in Paternity Court



About “Paternity Court”

“Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court”, which ran from 2013 to 2020, was a non-traditional court show starring Lauren Lake, a respected family lawyer and legal analyst. The series was a 79th & York Entertainment and Orion Television production, and received a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program in 20019. Unfortunately, MGM was forced to discard all courtroom programs due to financial struggles in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in ownership of the network.

With court programming being the second highest-rated genre on daytime television as of 2012, the inception of “Paternity Court” was also helped by the success of “Maury”. Nevertheless, there was a marked difference between the two shows, as “Maury” was more focused on drama and shenanigans, whereas “Paternity Court” worked towards using the test results as a way for the participants in the show to build healthy and long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, the goal of the program was to reinvigorate the court show genre by reaching the widest possible audience.

The format of each episode sees Lauren Lake speak to the show’s litigants and decide cases based on the results of DNA tests. Probate disputes over wills were also an integral part of the show; in early 2013, the show’s creator, David Armour, shared more of what happened on set – “We don’t take any of this lightly. There is a responsible side to the show where we help families get on the right path,” he shared. “We want to dig into these stories much deeper than any other court show does. We’re dealing with resolutions about how families can move forward now that they have results.”


Before and after the results, Lauren would take time to speak with her litigants. Most episodes of “Paternity Court” only focused on one case, unlike other present-day court shows which focus on two. However, it’s unclear just how involved MGM or the production team were with each family when filming wrapped up.

The doomed court series spawned two sister shows: “Personal Injury Court”, which was hosted by Gino Brogdon, and “Couples Court with the Cutlers”, which was hosted by Keith and Dana Cutler and used testing and evidence to prove – or disprove – infidelity. Sadly, all three shows were cancelled after ending production due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saddest Moments

“Paternity Court” regaled its viewers with truly heart-breaking moments over the years, such as the episode in which Donna Andrews asked for a paternity test to prove that the man who had raised her was her biological father. Donna, who had gone out to dine with some friends in Atlanta one fateful evening, was shocked when a man approached her out of the blue and showed her a tattoo of her name on his leg. Obviously, this caused her to doubt everything about her childhood and the man she believed to be her biological father.

William Glenn, who claimed to be Donna’s biological father, said that he’d kept it a secret for thirty years because Donna had been raised in a loving household and he didn’t want to turn her life upside-down. Roger Andrews, the man who raised Donna, was deceased, as well as Donna’s biological mother. The plot thickens, as it turns out that Donna was aware of William’s existence due to him being the father of one of her younger sisters.

Although Roger and Donna didn’t actually live together, perhaps due to him being separated from Donna’s mother, he did everything a supportive father does, and was even present during Donna’s high school graduation ceremony. When Roger passed away on the due date of Donna’s second child, she was understandably traumatized; when she was approached by William at the restaurant that fateful night, she was still mourning Roger’s death, but made it clear that she wasn’t looking for a replacement by taking the case to “Paternity Court”.


Telling his side of the story, William shared that he and Donna’s mother began dating in 1976 and that Donna was born when William “left” for eight months. When William asked Donna’s mother about her pregnancy, she didn’t give him any clear answers or indicate that he could be the biological father.

Before the restaurant incident, other odd things happened to Donna that made her doubt Roger being her real father. While on a plane, she was somehow seated next to someone who claimed to know who her biological father was. When this person gave Donna a description, she was confused because it didn’t match Roger at all. Then, a few months after Roger died, one of Donna’s cousins confessed that she wasn’t really his daughter.

“You waited until my mother passed away. We don’t have nobody’s word but your word now,” Donna reproached William. When the DNA results revealed that William was indeed Donna’s biological father, she was blown away, and broke down in tears. Donna, who had brought a framed picture of Roger with her to the courtroom, also showed William the photo and doubled down on her stance: she considered Roger her father, not him.

The next case we’ll be discussing is equally depressing. Siblings Hector Hunt and Precious Raysor decided to sue their parents for a paternity test after a huge argument in which it was revealed that the man that they believed to be their father, Richard Jacobs, wasn’t after all. Despite being the only father figure in the siblings’ life, Richard allegedly revealed that the siblings weren’t his biological children while arguing with his wife. However, Richard claimed that he only said that in the heat of the moment, due to a hurtful comment his wife, Daisy Hammonds, had made.

“This is the only man I’ve known for all my life,” an emotional Precious berated her mother. “He’s been there for my kindergarten graduation, my sixth-grade graduation, how many men do you know sit in the delivery room with their daughter while they’re having a baby?” When Precious’s mother confessed that she didn’t really know who their father was, Precious exploded, as she had planned on Richard walking her down the aisle at her wedding, which would take place a few months after the episode.


As it happens, for years there had been rumors in the neighborhood of a man named Tommy Farmer being Precious and Hector’s biological father. When Tommy was shown on the screen for a videocall, Precious was so incredulous that she walked out of the courtroom. Daisy confessed to having had a sexual relationship with Tommy around the time of her pregnancy with Precious, and refused to look her children in the eye, which made her appear guilty.

When it was revealed that Richard wasn’t Precious or Hector’s biological father, he and the siblings broke down in court. Tearful hugs were shared between the three and Daisy also appeared visibly devastated. The episode ended on an even worse note, when Daisy shared that she wasn’t Hector’s biological mother, but rather a woman that had died shortly after childbirth was.

For the first 33 years of her life, Jazmine St. James was a daddy’s girl and was even walked down the aisle by the man she believed to be her father, Kenneth Esaw. However, six months before appearing in the show, Kenneth revealed during an argument that she wasn’t his biological daughter. Stunned, Jazmine and her brother opened a paternity case to get the answers they needed.

Kenneth always believed that he wasn’t Jazmine’s biological father but never found the right moment to tell her the truth. Apparently, he agreed to take a paternity test so that the truth could set him free, as the secret had been haunting him for over three decades. The argument between Jazmine and Kenneth started when Jazmine confronted her father as to why he wasn’t more present in his grandchildren’s lives.

After discovering the truth, Jazmine began suffering from depression and anxiety. “I feel like I’m going to die of heartbreak,” she confessed tearfully, sharing that she hadn’t been eating or sleeping since Kenneth dropped the bombshell.


Kenneth then shared that, shortly after getting into a relationship with Jazmine’s mother, they learned she was pregnant. However, when they went to the doctor, they realized that he couldn’t be the father because she was too far along. Kenneth’s mother was also present in the courtroom and corroborated his version of events.

When the DNA results proved that Kenneth wasn’t Jazmine’s biological father, he looked somewhat relieved, whereas she looked completely heartbroken. Even so, she thanked Kenneth for raising her as his daughter.

We can all agree that, although “Paternity Court” was never picked up by another network following its cancellation, Lauren Lake and the production team did a great job at sharing these people’s stories, and helping some families find the closure they needed to move on in their lives.

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Michael Ilesanmi’s Toxic Relationship With Angela Deem



Michael Ilesanmi

Viewers of the “90 Day Fiancé” franchise are more than familiar with Michael Ilesanmi, who has been in a turbulent relationship with wife Angela Deem since 2018. Michael became a fan favorite in the second season of “90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days” due to Angela being such a controversial character in the show; the blonde, who is in her late 50s, doesn’t let Michael work or have social media accounts and has made it clear on many occasions that she doesn’t trust him.

With that said, Michael hasn’t done much to build that trust either. Things were going well at the beginning of the relationship, when the couple connected on social media in 2018 – so well, in fact, that Angela soon flew out to Michael’s home country of Nigeria to visit him. The glaring age gap and cultural differences between the two soon became evident. At the time, Angela was 52 years old and already had grandchildren, whereas Michael was two decades younger.

Angela’s daughter and friends began voicing their concerns, and when the interracial couple began having disagreements in Nigeria, she wondered if her younger boyfriend was secretly embarrassed to be seen with her. At the beginning of the relationship, Michael also admitted that he had cheated on Angela by engaging in sexual acts with a local woman. Since then, the tenuous trust between the couple was broken.


Angela’s first trip to Nigeria ended with Michael handing her an engagement ring wrapped in an American flag. Almost as soon as she returned to the US, the TV personality accused her Nigerian lover of draining her bank account, and proceeded to scream at him over the phone, which many viewers considered verbal abuse. Angela had given Michael her debit card for him to make a $300 withdrawal, but somehow he took out three times as much – allegedly by mistake.

In the third season of “Before the 90 Days”, the duo was reunited and waiting for him to obtain his K-1 visa. After yet another onscreen argument, Michael tried to apologize to Angela for cheating on her by giving her a cake… Which Angela promptly threw at his face. The relationship became even more chaotic when the couple discovered that there were little to no chances of Angela getting pregnant; when she asked her daughter, Skyla, to act as a surrogate, Skyla was outraged and refused.

Unfortunately for Michael, his visa was denied, which Angela discovered when she returned to the US during the seventh season of “90 Day Fiancé”. Even so, the couple tried to put aside their cultural differences and work on their trust issues, before celebrating their grandiose Nigerian wedding in season five of “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?”.

Days after the nuptials, which took place at the beginning of 2020, Angela had to unexpectedly return home due to the death of her ailing mother. The newlyweds were put to the test yet again when coronavirus-related travel restrictions were implemented before Angela could fly back to Nigeria, with both parties struggling to keep the flame alive.


While Angela waited for Michael’s spousal visa to come through, she put her baby search on the backburner and began dieting and exercising instead. However, her husband was vehemently against the idea of Angela slimming down or having a breast reduction. When Angela flirted with the doctor responsible for her weight loss surgery, Michael – who, by now, had become a minor celebrity thanks to his affable personality and hilarious on-screen moments – felt hurt and insecure. All this helped Angela become the villain of the relationship, despite Michael having cheated on her.

While healing from her surgeries, Angela tried to remotely track Michael’s activity and location via his phone, after he’d stopped communicating with her. This led to another explosive row that left the couple on the verge of a split; nevertheless, they gave things another go at the request of Tracey, Angela’s psychic.

In an attempt to win Michael back, Angela went under the knife for new breast implants, as her chest was his favorite feature of hers. During the season six Tell-All episode of “Happily Ever After?”, Angela began arguing with Michael’s aunt, Lydia, when the latter judged her for undergoing weight loss surgery instead of trying for a baby. Angela was so incandescent with rage that she flashed her breasts at the cameras; she also argued with Michael for taking his aunt’s side during the heated verbal argument.

The on-screen spat spiraled out of control and ended with Angela announcing that she would be acting single and flaunting her new, slimmer body until Michael could come to the US. During her “90 Day Fiancé” spin-off, the American met up with a former love interest, and was also seen destroying Michael’s car during a visit to Nigeria, which caused him to break up from her.


As things between Angela and Michael are so volatile, we just don’t know if the couple have broken up for good, or are planning to get back together. However, we can tell you more about Angela’s former flame, a handsome Canadian named Billy Sotiropoulos who also happens to be one of her close friends. Angela flew over to Canada to support Billy at his fundraising event, and was warmly welcomed when she touched down in Toronto.

Not everyone was pleased with Angela visiting Billy, with many followers of the couple reminding her that she would go crazy if Michael did the same. Anyone who keeps up with Angela and Michael’s exhausting marriage knows that the blonde has forbidden him from having female friends; meanwhile, she has no intentions of toning down her controversial online content, such as her provocative dancing videos.

In any case, it appears that Michael is now in the States after finally getting his green card. There have been rumors of Michael planning to leave Angela to be with his anonymous 30-year-old American girlfriend, with whom he allegedly cheated on his wife. These rumors have led to people thinking that Michael was only playing a waiting game with Angela, until he could obtain American citizenship. Nevertheless, only time will tell if the warring couple make things work or go their separate ways for good.

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