On June 9, 1993, "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss went to take out her garbage at her Tower Grove home off Benedict Canyon. The Police were there and arrested her. Heidi was charged with five counts of felony pandering and one count of possession of narcotics. On December 2, 1994, a grand jury found Heidi guilty on three of the five pandering counts, but innocent of the narcotics charge. She was sentenced to three years in prison and a $1,500 fine. She served 21 months.
Heidi Lynne Fleiss (born December 30, 1965) is a famous former American madam, and also a columnist and television personality regularly featured in the 1990s in American media. She is often referred to as the "Hollywood Madam."
Fleiss was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Paul M. Fleiss and Elissa (née Ash) are divorced. Her parents adopted Elissa's sister's baby daughter Kim, then adopted Paul's sister's baby daughter Amy (born 1965). Heidi was born later the same year. Paul and Elissa then had Shana (born 1967), Jason (1968–2009) and Jesse (born 1977). On December 28, 2009, 41 year old Jason drowned in the sea off Hawaii.
Work in prostitution
At the age of 22, Fleiss began managing a prostitution ring under Madam Alex after meeting the famous Madam 90210 in 1987. Fleiss stated in 2002 in an interview with Larry King that her relationship with Alex was "a very intense relationship" and that she "was kind of like the daughter she loved and hated, so she was abusive and loving at the same time." In the same interview, Fleiss said she was a prostitute for a short period.
By 1990 Fleiss parted with Alex and began to run her own prostitution ring. Fleiss has stated that she made her first "million [dollars] after only four months in the business" as a madam, and that on her slowest night she only made 10,000 dollars. By 1991 and 1992 she was so successful that she began rejecting girls to work for her, and at this time other pimps and madams became envious of Fleiss's success. She attributes this to her subsequent investigation, in which the LAPD began wiretapping phone conversations, and ultimately organized a June 8, 1993 sting investigation. In June 1993, she was arrested for multiple charges, including attempted pandering. News broke of the story in August 1993, which caused a media frenzy.
Federal charges were filed in 1994, and Heidi posted a $100,000 bail. The state trial began in 1994 as well. In May 1996, her state conviction was overturned, and her appeal bond was set at $200,000. Her Federal trial began in 1996, and in September 1996 she was convicted of federal charges of tax evasion. She was sentenced to 37 months in prison. After two years she was released to halfway house, only to be sent back to federal prison at her request. She was finally released in September 1999 after serving three years.
Fleiss's ring reportedly had numerous famous and wealthy clients. When questioned by British TV presenter Davina McCall about revealing the names of her clients, she replied; "It's not my style."
In 1995, Nick Broomfield made a documentary about her prostitution ring called Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam. In 2004, a made-for-TV movie was produced called Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss, in which Fleiss was portrayed by actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
Fleiss and reality TV personality Victoria Sellers (a friend of Fleiss' since their teens, although their relationship had hit the rocks during the period Sellers was interviewed for Broomfield's documentary) hosted and produced an instructional DVD titled Sex Tips with Heidi Fleiss and Victoria Sellers in 2001. She is a periodic guest on Fox News programs and is currently featured in Maxim Magazine's "Ask Heidi" column.
In January 2010, Fleiss was the third celebrity housemate to enter the final series of Celebrity Big Brother in the U.K. She was the second housemate to be evicted. During her appearance on Big Brother, she stated that she does not want children, as she would be a poor mother, and would respond to an unplanned pregnancy by terminating it - her exact words were "Thank God for abortion!" - this comment elicited angry responses from viewers. She did not return for the finale, Davina McCall said Heidi had to look after some 'exotic birds.'
In 2005 Fleiss announced plans to open a brothel in Pahrump called "Heidi Fleiss' Stud Farm". In 2007 Fleiss opened a laundromat called "Dirty Laundry" in Pahrump, Nevada, as her plans for the brothel had been put on hold due to a "slight complication."
In 2003, Fleiss accused her ex-boyfriend, actor Tom Sizemore, of domestic violence. Sizemore was convicted by a California jury of domestic violence, making criminal threats, and making obscene phone calls.
Fleiss eventually moved to Nevada, where she came to live in solitude in Death Valley while caring for 25 parrots. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated Fleiss for substance abuse, performed brain scans on her that showed significant frontal lobe dysfunction, which Pinsky surmised was behind her inability to empathize with people, and her affinity for doing so with birds.
In 2009, Fleiss was treated for substance abuse at the Pasadena Recovery Center, which was filmed for the third season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. One of her fellow patients was Sizemore, against whom her prior restraining order had lapsed. Both Fleiss and Sizemore consented to appear together on the show before filming began, and their reunion, depicted in the third episode, was amicable, though Fleiss subsequently expressed mixed feelings about his presence there. During the filming of the program, Fleiss left the center and was involved in an accident with her SUV near her home in Nevada. She subsequently returned to rehab. She continued her sober living on VH-1's Sober House with Dr. Drew for several weeks.
Fleiss is Jewish, and has said that she is a vegetarian.
1.^ Hubler, Shawn (April 9, 1995). "Did father know best?" Los Angeles Times.
2.^ California Birth Index 1905-1995
3.^ Heidi Fleiss's secret heartache over drowning death of brother days before entering Celebrity Big Brother house
4.^ Interview with Larry King
5.^ In Defense Of Prostitution - By Heidi Fleiss as told to Nadya Labi | million Dollars four months
6.^ Jill Smolowe (December 19, 1994). "A High Price to Pay." Time.
7.^ Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam (1995)
8.^ "Celebrity Big Brother 2010 contestants unveiled." BBC News Online. January 3, 2010.
9.^ "Katia Ivanova and Heidi Fleiss evicted from Celebrity Big Brother." Daily Mirror. January 15, 2010.
10.^ Celebrity Big Brother viewers turn on Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss as she rants: 'Thank God for abortion'
11.^ George Knapp (May 26, 2005). "I-Team Exclusive Interview With Heidi Fleiss." KLAS-TV.
12.^ "Heidi Fleiss eager again to do what she does best". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. June 19, 2005.
13.^ Pat Lalama (July 2, 2007). "Heidi Fleiss Opens 'Dirty' Laundromat." Fox News Channel.
14.^ Stephen M. Silverman (August 18, 2003). "Sizemore Convicted of Abusing Fleiss." People.com.
15.^ Knapp, George. "Famous Hollywood Madam Moves to Nevada", Las Vegas Now; Accessed January 30, 2010
16.^ Video of Celebrity Rehabe Episode 3.8 ("Acting Out") at VH1.com
17.^ Brean, Henry. "More Dirty Laundry", Las Vegas Review-Journal July 1, 2007
18.^ Margy Rochlin (February 1, 2010). "Addicted to Rehab". TV Guide Online.
19.^ Video of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Episode 3.4 ("New Patients") at VH1.com
20.^ Video of Celebrity Rehab Episode 3.5 ("Loss") at VH1.com
21.^ "Fleiss to Marry Brothel Boss." contactmusic.com. June 25, 2009.
22.^ Ariel Levy (February 2008). "The Once and Future Madam." Elle.