Heidi Fleiss

Heidi Lynne Fleiss (born December 30, 1965)[1] is an American former madam. She ran an upscale prostitution ring based in Los Angeles, California, and is often referred to as the "Hollywood Madam". Fleiss is also a columnist and television personality regularly featured in the 1990s in American media.

Heidi Fleiss
Fleiss in 2006
Heidi Lynne Fleiss

(1965-12-30) December 30, 1965
ResidencePahrump, Nevada, U.S.
OccupationMadam, television personality
TelevisionHeidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
Celebrity Big Brother
Partner(s)Dennis Hof
Parent(s)Paul M. Fleiss
Elissa Ash

Early life

Fleiss was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her parents, Paul M. Fleiss (1933–2014), a Jewish American pediatrician,[2][3] and Elissa (née Ash), divorced.[4][5] She has a brother, Jesse, and had another brother, Jason, who drowned on December 28, 2009 at the age of 41 off the coast of Hawaii.[6] She also has three sisters, Amy, Kim, and Shana,[4] the last of whom is the youngest sister.[7]

Work in prostitution and criminal charges

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 Ivan Nagy. Fleiss stated in 2002 that Alex and herself 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 was a prostitute for a short period to learn all aspects of the occupation. 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 setting their sights on retiring from prostitution. Alex tasked Heidi with revitalizing the business by recruiting a new batch of young, attractive women.[8]

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.[9] By 1991 and 1992, she was so successful that she began rejecting women looking 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 $1,000,000 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.[10] Fleiss was convicted of federal charges of tax evasion in September 1996 and sentenced to seven years in prison.[11] Fleiss served 20 months at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin in California. She was released to a halfway house on November 19, 1998, and ordered to perform 370 hours of community service.[12] Fleiss was released from the halfway house in September 1999.

Fleiss's ring reportedly had numerous prominent 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."[13]

Media appearances

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 hosted and produced an instructional DVD titled Sex Tips with Heidi Fleiss and Victoria Sellers in 2001.[14]

Fleiss has had a column, "Ask Heidi", in the magazine Maxim.

In January 2010, Fleiss was the third housemate to enter the final Channel 4 series of Celebrity Big Brother in the UK;[15] she was the second to be evicted.[16] During her appearance, 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. This comment elicited angry responses from some viewers.[17] She did not return for the finale. In August 2013, Nevada police found nearly 400 marijuana plants growing at her Pahrump, Nevada, home, but did not arrest Fleiss and submitted their report to the district attorney's office.[18]

Business interests

In 2005, Fleiss announced plans to open a brothel in Pahrump, Nevada called "Heidi Fleiss's Stud Farm".[19][20] 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."[21] 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".[22] She opened a fashion boutique in Los Angeles after being released from prison.[23]

As of July 2018,[24] and since at least January 2017,[25] Fleiss owns and manages the Flying S Ranch Ultralight Flightpark, an ultralight private use airport (permission required prior to landing) in Pahrump, with FAA designation NV54.[24]

Personal life

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.[26]

Fleiss eventually moved to Pahrump, Nevada,[27] where she came to live in a small town near Death Valley[28] while caring for 25 parrots.[29] 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.[30] She had developed a particular closeness to a macaw called Dalton that later died.[31]

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,[30] and their reunion, depicted in the third episode, was amicable,[32] though Fleiss subsequently expressed mixed feelings about his presence there.[33] 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.[28]

After completing treatment for substance abuse, Fleiss briefly became engaged to Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada's Moonlite BunnyRanch.[34] Fleiss said in 1994 that she is a vegetarian.[13]


Year Title Role Notes
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)

Published works

  • Pandering. Los Angeles: One Hour Entertainment. 2002. ISBN 9780972016407.
  • The Player's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide on Dating and Relationships. Los Angeles: One Hour Entertainment. 2004. ISBN 9780972016414.


  1. "Heidi Fleiss Biography: Criminal (1965–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  2. "Jew or Not Jew: Heidi Fleiss". www.jewornotjew.com.
  3. "Heidi Fleiss ruffles feathers in new documentary". Los Angeles Times. June 26, 2008.
  4. Colker, David (July 19, 2014). "Dr. Paul Fleiss Dies at 80; Father of 'Hollywood Madam' Heidi Fleiss". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 20, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
  5. Levy, Ariel (February 2008). "The Once and Future Madam". Elle. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  6. "Heidi Fleiss's secret heartache over drowning death of brother days before entering Celebrity Big Brother house". Mail Online.
  7. Hubler, Shawn (April 9, 1995). "Did father know best?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  8. "Life and Times of Heidi Fleiss". Larry King Live. (transcript) CNN. February 8, 2002. Archived from the original on August 6, 2003. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  9. Nadya Labi (September–October 2003). "In Defense Of Prostitution". Legal Affairs. Yale Law School. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  10. "Conviction Quashed In Heidi Fleiss Case". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 30, 1996. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  11. "Heidi Fleiss Given 37-Month Sentence". The New York Times. January 8, 1997. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  12. "Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss Placed in Halfway House". Los Angeles Times. November 20, 1998. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  13. Smolowe, Jill (December 19, 1994). "A High Price to Pay". Time. Retrieved July 22, 2007.
  14. Adams, Guy (October 5, 2006). "Celebrity children: The troubled world of Victoria Sellers". Media. Independent Print. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  15. "Celebrity Big Brother 2010 contestants unveiled". BBC News Online. January 3, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  16. Gripper, Ann (January 15, 2010). "Katia Ivanova and Heidi Fleiss evicted from Celebrity Big Brother". Daily Mirror. UK. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
  17. "Celebrity Big Brother viewers turn on Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss as she rants: 'Thank God for abortion'". Daily Mail. UK. January 5, 2010. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  18. Watts, Amanda (August 14, 2013). "Marijuana plants found at 'Hollywood Madam' Heidi Fleiss' Nevada home". CNN. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  19. Knapp, George (May 26, 2005). "I-Team Exclusive Interview With Heidi Fleiss". KLAS-TV. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  20. "Heidi Fleiss eager again to do what she does best". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. June 19, 2005. Archived from the original on February 12, 2008. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  21. Lalama, Pat (July 2, 2007). "Heidi Fleiss Opens 'Dirty' Laundromat". Fox News Channel. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  22. "Heidi Fleiss gives up on plan for brothel for women]". Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 10, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  23. Staff, WWD (December 17, 2003). "Heidi Fleiss' New Risqué Business". WWD. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  24. "NV54 - Flying S Ranch Ultralight Flightpark". AirNav. July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  25. "NV54 - Flying S Ranch Ultralight Flightpark". AirNav. January 5, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  26. Silverman, Stephen M. (August 18, 2003). "Sizemore Convicted of Abusing Fleiss". People.com. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
  27. Knapp, George (May 24, 2005). "Famous Hollywood Madam Moves to Nevada". KLAS-TV. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  28. "Video of Celebrity Rehab Episode 3.8 ("Acting Out") at VH1.com".
  29. "Las Vegas News | Breaking News & Headlines". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  30. Rochlin, Margy (February 1, 2010). "Addicted to Rehab". TV Guide. Archived from the original on January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  31. Heidi Fleiss: Would-Be Madam Of Crystal. SBS TV, December 21, 2010
  32. "Video of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Episode 3.4 ("New Patients") at VH1.com".
  33. "Video of Celebrity Rehab Episode 3.5 ("Loss") at VH1.com".
  34. "Fleiss to Marry Brothel Boss". ContactMusic.com. World Entertainment News Network. June 25, 2009. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2009.

Further reading

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