Hollywood’s most infamous private eye Anthony ‘The Pelican’ Pellicano – who did the bidding of Tinseltown’s elite – has spoken out about life after prison, vowing: ‘I’ll take my secrets to the grave.’
Pellicano, 76, was released from prison in 2019 following a 15-year sentence after being convicted of 78 counts of wiretapping, intimidation and racketeering. He had already served two years on weapons charges.
Prior to his incarceration, the PI was considered to be an invaluable asset to the stars of Hollywood, boasting an A-list clientele that included Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise.
Pellicano became prolific in obtaining and protecting their darkest secrets with the help of a sprawling network of wire-tappings he oversaw from his hi-tech Sunset Boulevard office.
But little has been heard of Pellicano since his release from the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in San Pedro, California in March, 2019.
Now in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com the former PI has opened up about his new life.
Hollywood’s most infamous private eye Anthony ‘The Pelican’ Pellicano has spoken out about life after prison, vowing: ‘I’ll take my secrets to the grave.’ In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com the former PI has revealed details of his new life
Prior to his incarceration, the PI was considered to be an invaluable asset to the stars of Hollywood, boasting a résumé of A-list clientele
Pellicano is living in Beverly Hills, mixing in the same circles he did before and says he is back in business.
But the PI, who has set up a firm called Pellicano Negotiations, claims he’s keeping his nose clean.
According to his website his new venture handles ‘crisis management, trouble resolution and due diligence’.
‘I still am doing negotiations, yes. but I’m not doing any private investigation at all,’ he insists.
In fact, Pellicano has been banned from practicing as a PI after his private investigators license was revoked following his first conviction.
Pellicano once worked for Tom Cruise. A recording of a phone call between Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise was among the treasures the FBI found
He has also set up a company called Caged Pelican Productions, which he says involves movie production negotiations.
‘It’s always going to be Hollywood, always,’ he explains. ‘But there’s all kinds of companies around the country that I do work with and even some countries across the sea, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and all that.
‘And I have a lot of contacts that I have made over the years and I’m just using those contacts to make another life.’
Pellicano says being out of prison is ‘wonderful’, he is enjoying spending time with his family and hopes to take up an old passion – archery.
But many in the upper echelons of Hollywood, nervous about the secrets Pellicano holds and terrified of the tactics he once employed, wonder whether he will revert back to his old ways.
One Hollywood insider told DailyMail.com: ‘A leopard can’t change its spots and Pellicano is no different.
‘Word is he’s already doing the bidding for some very senior movie executives and it won’t be long before he becomes unstuck.
‘I’m told he’s already trying to intimidate people, but he’s being very careful about it because he doesn’t want to breach his parole terms.
‘He can dress his new business up as negotiations or crisis management, but guaranteed there will be some dirty tricks thrown in.
‘For those he helped over the years he was a saint, but for those on the wrong end of his campaign of intimidation, violence and blackmail, he was a nasty piece of work.
‘At 76-years-old and after so long behind bars you’d expect him to put his feet up, but Anthony is a force of nature, he won’t sit still.
‘He’s a serious guy and a lot of big names in Hollywood will be on edge knowing he’s back in town.’
Pellicano, 76, was released in 2019 following a 15-year prison sentence after being convicted of 78 counts of wiretapping, intimidation and racketeering. He’s seen in court in 2009
His clients included the likes of Michael Jackson. Pellicano became prolific in obtaining and protecting the darkest secrets of Hollywood stars, with the help of a sprawling network of wire-tappings
At the height of his private eye work Pellicano’s grasp stretched into every corner of Tinseltown’s grubby underbelly.
Armed with a baseball-bat and an evil stare, his motto for celebrity clients was, ‘Your problem becomes my problem.’
He spear-headed a campaign of blackmail and intimidation against Hollywood’s great and good.
Cheating spouses, sex tapes, drug addictions – Pellicano dealt with it all.
A black-belt karate expert, Pellicano was ruthless and cultivated an aura of danger, boasting that he knew how to shred someone’s face with a knife.
During a magazine interview he bragged that he had used a baseball bat to beat up one of his client’s adversaries and had blackmailed others.
He was known for threatening violence and once told a reporter while holding an aluminum bat: ‘Guys who f**k with me get to meet my buddy here.’
But these days Pellicano, while claiming prison hasn’t changed the man he was, insists he’s staying clear of any ‘strife’ and is looking for ‘peace’.
‘You just do what you can, you spend time with your family, you know, you always have your family,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘I’m going to be 77-years-old pretty soon. So I’m more interested in peace. I had a lot of strife, I mean, I encountered a lot of difficulties. I solved a lot of people’s problems over time and for the most part, those people are still fans of mine.
‘They’re still behind me a hundred percent, which is good.
‘And that’s my life from this point on, I’m not interested in strife and everything that went along with what I did before, because that’s a thing of the past. I’m not interested.’
Pellicano says he didn’t dwell on past misdeeds while locked up, he just focused on the future.
‘You can’t go through a prison term thinking about what happened to you and feeling sorry for yourself. I didn’t do any of that,’ he explained.
‘What I did is I tried to devote the time to further educating myself and reading. I must’ve read 2000 books. I’m not a crybaby. I went to prison and came out the same man.
‘The only thing is that I lost a lot of my life. If you want to say anything about me, I’m stronger, not weaker, stronger.’
He’s set up a firm called Pellicano Negotiations that handles ‘crisis management, trouble resolution and due diligence’ and says he’s keeping his nose clean
On claims his loyal celebrity friends had set up a slush fund for him to access when he was released, he admits: ‘People have helped me out when I got out of prison, yeah sure, they did, that’s true. But not millions of dollars, you can’t believe what you read, you know what I mean? People helped me out, they absolutely did and I’m very grateful for that.’
Pellicano claims he was flooded with offers to tell his story just before his release, but he’s turned them all down.
‘I got 13 offers for documentaries and all kinds of other things,’ he said.
‘So I got offered serious amounts of money to write my memoirs, but I’m not interested.
‘I am pursuing other things, however, I don’t want you to think that I’m just sitting on my ass.’
The former celebrity sleuth says he has written a book, due to be published in March, and is keeping quiet about its contents for now.
But for the Hollywood elite nervous that one day Pellicano could reveal their darkest secrets to the world, Pellicano says they have nothing to worry about.
‘I didn’t talk about anybody in prison. I didn’t rat on anybody nor would I ever. I still have the same code of conduct I’ve always had,’ he said.
‘There’s no amount of money that you could offer me to do, which in my heart I never wanted to do in the first place.
‘I’m a man of honor, no matter what people say. Some people have rough images of me and that’s fine because I was a rough guy and I remain a rough guy. Make no mistake, I’m the same man, that hasn’t changed, but I have no interest in doing what I did before.’
Pellicano claims he was flooded with offers to tell his story just before his release, but he’s turned them all down
One Hollywood insider told DailyMail.com: ‘A leopard can’t change its spots and Pellicano is no different. ‘Word is he’s already doing the bidding for some very senior movie executives and it won’t be long before he becomes unstuck,’ they said
Pellicano, an unabashed self-promoter, is quick to remind people that he was the best private investigator in the world.
He said proudly: ‘I was the foremost person in the country, if not the world, I made more money than anybody else.
‘I charged a lot. It would cost you $25,000 just to talk to me. So there was nobody else like me and they’ll never be anybody like me again. It’s all in the past, if you want to talk about Pellicano, you look to the future. That’s what I’m looking to do.’
Pellicano was also involved in the criminal case against Farrah Fawcett’s ex-boyfriend James Orr when he was convicted of beating her up in 1997, reportedly ripping up pictures of her bruised bottom to stop them being published
Growing up in Cicero, Illinois raised by a single-mother, Pellicano served in the Army and worked as a debt collector under the assumed name Tony Fortune.
Before long he moved on to become a private eye in Chicago. After moving to Los Angeles, he quickly became known as an investigator to the stars, helping celebs deal with their problems.
While in his late 20s, the sleuth boasted that he had investigated 3,964 missing-persons cases and solved every one.
In an impressive CV from the 1970s, he said he had been trained by military intelligence personnel in highly sophisticated audio surveillance procedures and counter-measures.
His expertise, while never fully verified, enabled Pellicano to build a reputation in Hollywood for being the best in the business – a man able to suppress gossip – an important currency in showbiz.
Michael Jackson paid Pellicano $2 million in his child-abuse case; Steven Bing paid Pellicano at least $100,000 at the time of his paternity case with Liz Hurley.
The investigator also helped Stevie Wonder, James Woods and Kevin Costner, among many others.
In 1993 he was with Michael Jackson when police were searching Neverland after Evan Chandler made an allegation that Jackson had abused his 13-year-old son Jordy.
The day after the allegations emerged, the detective held press conferences that featured boys who claimed they had spent time with Jackson without anything untoward happening.
Pellicano also tried to discredit Jordy’s father claiming he wanted to extort money from the singer.
He was also involved in the criminal case against Farrah Fawcett’s ex-boyfriend James Orr when he was convicted of beating her up in 1997, reportedly ripping up pictures of her bruised bottom to stop them being published.
A year later he was hired by talk show host Jerry Springer to find out who had filmed him in a threesome with two women.
But it was in 2002 that the infamous PI finally became unstuck.
In 1993 he was with Michael Jackson when police were searching Neverland after Evan Chandler made an allegation that Jackson had abused his 13-year-old son Jordy. Pellicano (left) is seen leaving a press conference about the case in 1993 with Michael Jackson’s attorney Bert Fields
FBI agents raided his Hollywood offices and discovered C4 plastic explosives hidden in a safe as well as four hand grenades, and claimed to have found millions of pages of wiretap transcripts.
A recording of a phone call between Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise was also among the treasures the FBI found.
Officers had been investigating a complaint from Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch, who claimed Pellicano had attempted to intimidate her into dropping a story she was pursuing about actor Steven Seagal being linked to the Mafia.
Busch reported threatening phone messages, claimed she was nearly run down by two men in a Mercedes with tinted windows, and said someone had placed a dead fish, a rose and a note that read ‘Stop’ on her car.
Police arrested a man with a criminal record called Alexander Proctor who told them Pellicano paid him to plant the message on Busch’s car for Seagal.
Seagal and Pellicano both denied all knowledge of any intimidation but the detective could not avoid a large-scale investigation into his business.
Pellicano was never charged with making threats but did plead guilty to weapons possession after the FBI discovered a stash in his office and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. But in 2006, just weeks before his scheduled release, Pellicano was held on an additional 70 charges of racketeering, wire fraud and wiretapping, which he was convicted of in 2008.
Pellicano’s private investigators license was revoked following his first conviction.
Pellicano is philosophical about the large chunk of his life he’s missed.
He said: ‘There’s a lot of suffering involved with the life I lived. But I chose this life and I don’t make any complaints about it, nor make any excuses about it. I did what I did.’