‘Tiger King’: Who is Rick Kirkham? The Reality T.V. Producer’s Wild Background

by Jeremy Spirogis
‘Tiger King’: Who is Rick Kirkham? The Reality T.V. Producer’s Wild Background

Netflix’s Tiger King: Murder, Madness, and Mayhem tells the story of Joseph Maldonado-Passage, higher generally known as Joe Exotic. The seven-part docuseries captured the many individuals concerned in Maldonado-Passage’s story, together with the enduring actuality tv producer, Rick Kirkham. 

As a well known producer, Kirkham linked up with Maldonado-Passage within the hopes of constructing a actuality present in regards to the “Tiger King.” Kirkham took up residency at Maldonado-Passage’s G.W. Zoo, the place he witnessed all the madness that occurred there. 

Before looking for out huge cat lover Maldonado-Passage, Kirkham had a wildly profitable profession as a actuality tv star himself. 

'Tiger King' Rick Kirkham
Rick Kirkham | J. Vespa/WireImage

Who is Rick Kirkham?

According to an ABC News profile, Kirkham obtained his first digital camera when he was 14-years-old. He would later use that digital camera to seize “a video diary of [his] life as he talked intimately about his addiction, his guilt and the love of his two boys, which would ultimately save him from self-destruction.”

Before he grew to become hooked on medicine, Kirkham was a dancer on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kirkham obtained a level in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1981. Later, he grew to become against the law reporter in Las Vegas for an NBC affiliate. 

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His days as against the law reporter are the place Kirkham earned his place within the highlight. Accompanying police on drug busts, Kirkham bought to hold a gun and put on a bulletproof vest. Ironically, it was throughout this time Kirkham grew to become hooked on crack cocaine.

Later, Kirkham began working for Inside Edition, the place he grew to become identified for his willingness to take part in wild stunts like setting himself on hearth (as seen in Tiger King). In 1996, Kirkham was fired from Inside Edition due to his habit. 

Rick Kirkham tried suicide 

When Kirkham misplaced his job, he misplaced his household and virtually misplaced his life, too. Per Oxygen, Kirkham tried suicide by taking 100 tablets and consuming two beers whereas driving his Jeep, recording his each transfer. After surviving a near-fatal automobile accident, Kirkham determined to show his life round for his two sons. 

A filmmaker, Kirkham recorded a lot of his habit on digital camera. He took “over 46 boxes of film and 3,200 videotapes” of footage and had them made into the documentary T.V. Junkie, which was later utilized in faculties to show youngsters in regards to the risks of drug habit. 

After getting sober, Kirkham began working as a producer for RealReels. He additionally briefly labored for KFBB-TV in Montana as a information director earlier than assembly Maldonado-Passage. 

Why did Rick Kirkham wish to work on ‘Tiger King’?

Kirkham sought to capitalize on the weird nature that “Joe Exotic” exuded by filming his each transfer and turning it right into a actuality tv present. 

In an interview with Extra TV, Kirkham conceded that being on digital camera was like a drug to Maldonado-Passage, which made for good actuality tv. 

Kirkham additionally described the footage he captured that was later famously burned, per the Netflix collection: “If I were to let the video out that I have shot of [Maldonado-Passage] killing animals on this park, of [Maldonado-Passage] tricking people by taking in their animals, [Maldonado-Passage] would probably go to jail.” 

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In that very same interview, Kirkham shared that Maldonado-Passage was a “very evil guy to the animals and the people” that labored for him.

What does Rick Kirkham do now? 

Kirkham has skilled one thing of a resurgence within the information for the reason that Tiger King docuseries aired. Despite Kirkham’s unique footage being destroyed, his fact was uncovered because of his function within the documentary. 

According to Kirkham’s Facebook profile, he’s presently dwelling in Bodo, Norway, the place he works as a contract reporter for RealReels. Kirkham married his girlfriend Kristin E Rosøy Kirkham in April 2018.

How to get assist: In the U.S., name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or textual content HOME to 741-741 to attach with a skilled disaster counselor on the free Crisis Text Line.

 How to get assist: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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