Gotta Watch: Infamous Madams
Since her days as a madam ended, Heidi Fleiss has appeared on "Celebrity Rehab."
May 24th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Infamous Madams

They're the women who threatened to take down some of the nation's most powerful with one simple move - opening up their little black books. These madams made headlines with their sex-trade sales and their legal wrangling sent shivers through their anonymous clients who feared being outed. Today marks the 16th anniversary of Heidi Fleiss' conviction, so today’s Gotta Watch takes a look at some of the country’s most notorious madams.

Heidi Fleiss – Though she had a very brief stint on reality TV, Heidi Fleiss may forever be known as "The Hollywood Madam." As Tinsletown's top call-girl den mother, Fleiss bragged about being the best in the business and coyly played the media about her client list. But that bravado couldn't save her from a prison sentence.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/05/24/vault.heidi.fleiss.madam.cnn"%5D

Sydney Biddle Barrows – It seems like an odd story: a socialite turned madam. But for blue-blooded Sydney Biddle Barrows, the escort business brought in big clients and big bucks. It also brought in New York prosecutors. The unapologetic Barrows always said her business was classy and run with accepted business practices. She even used her notoriety to become a best-selling author.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/05/24/vault.mayflower.madam.cnn"%5D

Deborah Jeane Palfrey – Deborah Jeane Palfrey shook up Washington when she earned the moniker of "The D.C. Madam." This revelation forced a senator to come clean about his involvement with her service. But before Palfrey could go to trial, she committed suicide.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/05/24/vault.dc.madam.deborah.palfrey4.cnn"%5D

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Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Gotta Watch • Justice • Politics • Showbiz
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    Very lifting.

    May 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. where is the crime?

    if it were Nevada there would be no crime, it is a crime the nation feels completely different about depending on where you live, crazy to go to jail for this crime

    May 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. phoenix

    madams are evil adulteresses heading to the abyss.

    May 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • MightyMoo

      Takes two to tango.

      May 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sutler

      Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? 😉

      May 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty

      Evil of both those women and whoever went to them for whatever.

      May 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alan Harper

    Why is it that the Madams are infamous, but their Johns are famous?

    May 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      What the heck do their toilets have to do with anything?

      May 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skynet

      The same reason we only hear about men cheating and not women. If a man cheats then he's a low down dirty pig, but if a woman cheats we never hear about it. Heidi looks like the Joker in that pic. Probably is. I always felt the Joker was quite feminine.

      May 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. npgator

    Yeah C'mon!

    May 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lodekabaal

    choot maaaru mein in sariyo ki...

    May 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuutkadhakan

      bhonsri ke, teri amman bhi hai in mein

      May 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • lanjha

      STF up.

      May 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rock

    That reminds me...I need to bottom out in Snookie this morning

    May 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skynet

      Better double bag it

      May 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David

    We have laws against women selling their bodies. Does that not sound medieval?

    May 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moi

      You can always find a lady of the night if you really want one. Personally I'm not that desperate and I'm pretty hard up. You must be quite repulsive if you can't get it on your own.

      May 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ellis

    OMG, 16 years gone just like that.

    May 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Caveman

    Women selling their services is the oldest profession in the book. Half of the clients are upstanding citizens themselves. The law should stop trying to prevent this activity, and start learning how to profit it from it and keep it a safe activity. If nobody gets hurt, where's the crime?

    May 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jefe

      half the clients are upstanding? what, the other half have ED? chortle, chortle

      May 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary Sea

    The DC Madam didn't commit suicide and anyone who believes that is incredibly naive or simply stupid. She had massive info on too many powerful people which she could not be allowed to divulge. Thus, she was 'silenced' with extreme prejudice.

    May 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brook

    Lame. What? No mention of Sally Stanford? I mean, how many madams were elected as Mayor? They just don't make 'em like they used to.

    May 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cricket

    Oh, goody, now a madam's suicide is a conspiracy. Yippie Yi K-Y!
    @phoenix:
    "madams are evil adulteresses heading to the abyss."
    Whereas the married men who patronize them are....what? Saints?
    Madams are not usually married, either.

    May 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Iamrightyouarewrong

    I guess these guys have never been down the block from my house. $20 crackhead took her teeth out what a great bj. Why they gotta spend mucho bucks I'll never know.

    May 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      What's wrong with CNN anyway? They block some of my comments while they let such a senseless and meaningless comment like above come on display. I don't get it!!!

      May 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. George Patton

    It's horrific shame that Heidi Fleiss along with Sidney Biddle Barrows and Deborah Palfrey had to go to jail where our political and military leaders so richly deserve to be! For instance,despite all the blood Barak Obama has on his hands,he continues to occupy the White House not to mention all the people people halfway around the world butchered by our military machine!!! How repulsive!!!

    May 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Thank you,George. I couldn't have said it better myself.

      May 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Mmm Cesar........ I love when we clique. It's like you're always thinking what I am.

      May 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
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