Where Is Anthony Pellicano Now?
The investigative docuseries “The New York Times Presents” has examined some of the most high-profile stories in news and pop culture since its debut in 2019, ranging from Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction to the conservatorship of Britney Spears. The latest installment in the series, “Sin Eater: The Crimes of Anthony Pellicano,” dives into the gritty work of “Hollywood Fixer” Anthony Pellicano, a private investigator that worked for some of Hollywood’s top lawyers, musicians, comedians, actors, and more from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
Pellicano’s unorthodox and often ruthless methods ultimately led to his downfall. In 2006, he was formally out of the business when he was arrested on charges of conspiring to wiretap and blackmail. After a trial that exposed his covert operation, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2008.
Before watching “Sin Eater: The Crimes of Anthony Pellicano,” which hit FX and Hulu on March 10, here are the whereabouts of Anthony Pellicano today.
Who is Anthony Pellicano?
Born in a suburb of Chicago on March 22, 1944, Anthony Pellicano embraced a “tough guy” persona at a young age. He told The LA Times in a 1993 interview that he was kicked out of high school for being “too interested in being a tough guy,” and he later obtained his GED in the Army Signal Corps while working as a cryptographer.
After his time in the army, Pellicano returned to Chicago, where he worked as a bill collector, which would ultimately become his introduction to the world of investigating and tracking people down. Per The LA Times, Pellicano became interested in detective work after seeing multiple Yellow Page ads for detective agencies. After calling the biggest ad in the book, Pellicano claims that he found a girl that was missing for six weeks in just two days with “intelligence, logic, common sense, a tremendous amount of imagination, and an acute perception.” He founded his own investigative business in Chicago in 1969 and started to earn a reputation for embellishing his own talents and boasting of his successes, which included finding over 3,000 missing persons by 1975.
By 1976, however, Pellicano’s squeaky reputation was tarnished when he was linked to the Italian-American mafia in Chicago after accepting a $30,000 loan from Paul de Lucia Jr., the son of mafia boss Paul Ricca. Pellicano spent another seven years in Chicago working on various criminal cases and decided to move to California in the early 1980s.
How Did Anthony Pellicano Become the “Hollywood Fixer?”
Pellicano moved to Los Angeles in 1983, where he found his first job on the west coast assisting attorney Howard Weitzman in defending John Z. DeLorean, auto executive and founder of the DeLorean Motor Company after he was charged with cocaine trafficking by the FBI. According to The LA Times, Pellicano “dissected key government tapes and dug up information that helped undermine prosecution witnesses,” which ultimately played a pivotal role in helping Weitzman win the case. This collaboration was monumental for Pellicano, as he developed a friendship with Weitzman, who connected him with notable celebrity clients in Hollywood.
What Celebs Did Anthony Pellicano Represent?
As Pellicano established himself in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, he quickly started working with several A-List celebrities, ranging from actors to musicians. Some of his clients included:
- Kevin Costner, actor
- Don Simpson, “Top Gun” producer
- Brad Grey, TV and Film producer (later became CEO of Paramount Pictures)
- Michael Orvitz, former president of The Walt Disney Company
- Michael Jackson, musician, known as “The King of Pop”
- Chris Rock, actor and comedian
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor and bodybuilding champion
- Roseanne Barr, actor and comedian
- Garry Shandling, actor and comedian
Pellicano, who described himself as the “Prince of Darkness,” is credited for his work in the 1993 molestation case against Michael Jackson and has claimed involvement in the Monica Lewinsky, O.J. Simpson, and Gennifer Flowers cases, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
How Did Anthony Pellicano Get Caught?
While working as a private investigator in Los Angeles, Pellicano quickly became known as the “Hollywood Fixer” due to the measures he would take to make the “problems” of his clients disappear. His tactics, which included bribing employees at local phone companies and members of the Los Angeles Police Department, allowed him to wiretap the phones of his targets and illegally obtain information to clear his clients of any accusations or dissolve their pressing problems.
Pellicano had a lengthy run as Hollywood’s most treasured private investigator, but his success came to an end in 2002. At the time, LA Times journalist Anita Busch was investigating a story that linked Orvitz, once a client of Pellicano’s, to potentially accepting mob money to finance a movie featuring Steven Seagal, as reported by The New Yorker. On June 20, 2002, Busch found a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on her cracked car windshield, with a cardboard sign that read “Stop” on it. She later told police that she believed her phones were tapped, her computer was hacked, and that she was being targeted by none other than Pellicano.
After an informant led investigators to Pellicano, FBI agents obtained a search warrant for his office in November 2002. During their search, they found “explosives, two hand grenades, loaded pistols, and bundles of cash totaling about two hundred thousand dollars,” in his safe (via The New Yorker). According to Variety, Pellicano pled guilty in October 2003 to a felony count of possessing unregistered firearms and a felony charge of possessing C-4 explosives, and he was sentenced to 30 months for his crimes in January 2004.
Jail time was the least of his legal troubles, however. During the office search, agents also found hours of encrypted, illegally wiretapped conversations. His scheduled release from prison was Feb. 4, 2006, but before he could set foot out of jail as a free man, he was again indicted on 110 counts of charges that included: racketeering, wiretapping, bribery, destroying evidence, and perjury, as reported by The LA Times. On Dec. 15, 2008, Pellicano was found guilty on charges of wiretapping, racketeering, and wire fraud (to name a few), and was sentenced to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay a $2 million fine, per The New York Times.
Where is Anthony Pellicano Now?
According to Variety, Pellicano was released from prison on March 22, 2019, his 75th birthday. After his release, he worked with Joel Silver, producer of “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon,” in an arbitration case with Daryl Katz in 2021, per Biography. In April 2022, he wrote “The Neighborhood,” a fictional crime novel inspired by his own life. He later told Variety in August 2022 that most of his current work involves corporate disputes and occasional #MeToo cases.
Anthony Pellicano’s career and crimes are at the forefront of “Sin Eater: The Crimes of Anthony Pellicano,” which is streaming on Hulu now. Watch the trailer for the two-part docuseries below.
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