Celebrity Publicist Clifford Dies During Sex Crimes Sentence

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
December 10, 2017World News
Celebrity Publicist Clifford Dies During Sex Crimes Sentence
In this Friday, May 2, 2014 file photo, prominent media PR and celebrity publicist, Max Clifford arrives for sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)

LONDON — Former British celebrity publicist Max Clifford, the confidante of the stars who found himself swept up in Britain’s historic sex abuses scandal, died Sunday after collapsing in prison. He was 74.

Once one of the most powerful figures in the British entertainment world, Clifford was convicted in 2014 of eight counts of indecent assault stemming from attacks on teenagers dating back more than 40 years. He was serving an 8-year prison sentence on the sex offenses from the 1970s and 1980s at Littlehey Prison in Cambridgeshire when he died.

NTD Photo
Max Clifford leaves a London police station after making a statement to media after being arrested by Operation Yewtree officers, on December 6, 2012 in London, England. (Warrick Page/Getty Images)

Clifford was once as well known as the celebrities he represented — the go-to guy to get an actor out of trouble in a time of crisis. He advised many on damage control and represented TV mogul Simon Cowell, but he was later convicted of luring young girls into sex by offering them acting roles.

Clifford had denied all the charges and said his accusers were fantasists.

Clifford had been arrested as part of an investigation called Operation Yewtree, a wide-ranging inquiry into alleged sexual offenses spurred by the case of Jimmy Savile, a well-known British entertainer accused of the sexual abuse of hundreds of girls and women. He died in 2011.

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English dj and television presenter Jimmy Savile (1926 – 2011), showing off his OBE after his investiture at Buckingham Palace, London, 21st March 1972. (Leslie Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Savile allegations shocked Britain and caused a major embarrassment for his employer, the BBC, which had been accused of failing to report on investigations into Savile’s alleged crimes.

Before his own sex crimes charges, Clifford had told The Associated Press that he was receiving calls from many celebrities and entertainers worried they would be caught up in the widening Savile investigation.

“They’re phoning me and saying, ‘Max, I’m worried that I’m going to be implicated.’ A lot of them can’t remember what they did last week, never mind 30 or 40 years ago,” he said.

Clifford’s daughter Louise told the Mail on Sunday that her father had first collapsed Thursday in his cell while trying to tidy it. He collapsed again the following day and was taken to a hospital, where suffered a heart attack.

She told the newspaper he had been in a “bad way” in a critical care unit.

“It was just too much,” she said.

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