Heidi Lynne Fleiss
December 30, 1965
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Madam, television personality|
|Television||Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam|
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
Celebrity Big Brother
|Partner||Dennis Hof (2009–2018; his death)|
|Parent(s)||Paul M. Fleiss|
Heidi Lynne Fleiss (born December 30, 1965) is an American former madam. She ran an upscale prostitution ring based in Los Angeles and is often referred to as the "Hollywood Madam". Fleiss has also worked as a columnist and was a television personality regularly featured in the 1990s in American media.
Fleiss was born and raised in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Her father, Paul M. Fleiss (1933–2014), was a pediatrician and her mother, Elissa (née Ash), was an elementary school teacher. Their marriage ended in divorce. She has two brothers: Jesse (born in 1977), and Jason (born in 1968), who drowned at age 41 in 2009; and three sisters: Amy, Kim, and Shana.
Prostitution and tax evasion
At the age of 22, Fleiss began managing a prostitution ring under Madam Alex after meeting her in 1987 via Fleiss's film-director boyfriend Iván Nagy. Fleiss stated in 2002 that Alex and she had "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 worked as a prostitute for a short period to learn all aspects of the trade. At the time she was learning to take over Alex's business there was a labor shortage, as most of Alex's prostitutes were approaching middle age and planning to retire from prostitution. Alex tasked Fleiss with revitalizing the business by recruiting a new batch of young, attractive women.
By 1990, Fleiss severed her links with Madam Alex and began 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 made $10,000. By 1991, Fleiss was so successful that she was able to reject women who wished to work for her. In June 1993, she was arrested for multiple charges, including attempted pandering.
Federal charges were filed in 1994 and Fleiss posted $1 million bail; the state trial began the same year and Fleiss was convicted. In May 1996, her state conviction was overturned and her appeal bond was set at $200,000. She was convicted of federal charges of tax evasion in September 1996 and sentenced to seven years in prison. Fleiss served 20 months at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, California. She was released to a halfway house on November 19, 1998, and ordered to perform 370 hours of community service.
Fleiss's ring reportedly had numerous prominent and wealthy clients. When questioned by British television 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 2005, Fleiss announced plans to open a brothel in Pahrump, Nevada called "Heidi Fleiss's Stud Farm". In 2007, Fleiss opened a laundromat called Dirty Laundry in Pahrump, as her plans for the brothel had been put on hold due to a "slight complication". In 2009, she said that she had abandoned her plans to open such a brothel because she did not want to "deal with all the nonsense in the sex business". Instead, she said, she would focus on renewable energy, which she described as "perfect for Nevada" and "the wave of the future". She opened a fashion boutique in Los Angeles after being released from prison.
As of July 2018[update], and since at least January 2017, Fleiss owns and manages the Flying S Ranch Ultralight Flightpark, an ultralight private use airport in Pahrump, with FAA designation NV54.
Fleiss eventually moved to Pahrump, Nevada, a small town near Death Valley while caring for 25 parrots. 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 propensity 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.
|1995||The Doom Generation||Liquor store clerk||Film debut|
|2003||Pauly Shore Is Dead||Herself|
|2004||Alien 51||Evelda||Lead role|
|2009||Porndogs: The Adventures of Sadie||Fluffy||(voice)|
|2010||Celebrity Big Brother||Herself||Contestant; placed 11th/12|
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- The Player's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide on Dating and Relationships. Los Angeles: One Hour Entertainment. 2004. ISBN 9780972016414.
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- "'Hollywood Madam' Heidi Fleiss plans to leave Nevada after pet parrot shot". The Guardian. January 8, 2022.
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- Garnder, Chris (May 13, 2021). "Former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss Weighs In on Musical About Her Life". The Hollywood Reporter.