Heidi Fleiss is an American columnist, reality TV personality, an occasional actress, and a former madam. She is also referred to as the ‘Hollywood Madam’. Born in Los Angeles, California, she dropped out of high school and founded a high class prostitution ring. It catered to stars such as Charlie Sheen. She was charged for pandering in 1993 and convicted the following year, after which she spent three years in prison. A documentary film about her life, which was titled ‘Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam’, was also released in 1995. Created by Nick Broomfield, the film examined whether she is actually a horrible person and why and how she had to choose the path she did. Film critic Roger Ebert named it one of the best films of the year. She has also appeared in a few films and various reality TV shows. She played the lead role in the science fiction film ‘Alien 51’. The film was met with negative reviews from critics.
Heidi Fleiss started managing a prostitution ring at the age of 22, shortly after she met film director Ivan Nagy. Initially she worked under the well-established Madam Alex. She also worked as a prostitute for some time in order to learn all aspects of the business. At the same time, she also tried to take over Alex’s business. Her tasks included recruiting young and attractive women as new prostitutes for the ring as most of the previous ones were approaching middle-age and were on their way to retirement.
Fleiss soon founded her own prostitution ring. She later stated that she made a million dollars only after four months in the business. However, she was charged and arrested in June 1993 on accounts of multiple criminal activities, including attempted pandering.
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Conviction & Imprisonment
After the case went to trial, she was charged and eventually convicted of three counts of pandering. She was then sentenced to three years in prison, but in a 1996 appeal, her conviction was overturned as jurors had admitted to vote trading and other infractions as well. She was tried in a federal court the next year, and was found guilty of tax evasion as well as money laundering. She was sentenced to prison for 37 months, which she served at the Federal Correctional Institution, located in Dublin, California.
Her trials drew a lot of attention from the media, and it was speculated that she would reveal the names of her customers. However, when asked by the media, she replied that it wasn’t her style.
Fleiss had plans to open a brother in Pahrump, Nevada, though it was eventually cancelled. She opened a Laundromat called ‘Dirty Laundry’ as well as a fashion boutique in Los Angeles.
She has also acted in multiple films. She made her film debut playing a minor role in the black comedy film ‘The Doom Generation’. The film received mixed reviews and was a commercial disaster. Her other film appearances include the lead role in the science fiction film ‘Alien 51’.
A documentary about her life named ‘Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam’ was made in 1995. Later, a TV movie named ‘Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss’ was also made.
Heidi Fleiss was born in Los Angeles, California, US on December 30, 1965. Her parents were Paul M. Fleiss and Elissa Fleiss. She had two brothers, Jesse and Jason; the latter passed away in 2009. She also has three sisters named Amy, Kim, and Shana.
Before she began her career in prostitution, she was in a relationship with Bernie Cornfield. She later dated Tom Sizmore and Dennis Hof.