Famed San Francisco Private Eye Palladino Dies After Attack

February 1, 2021 Updated: February 1, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO—Famous San Francisco private eye Jack Palladino died Monday, never having regained consciousness after tussling with would-be robbers in his Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and hitting his head. He was 76.

His attorney, Mel Honowitz, confirmed that Palladino was taken off life support Sunday and died around noon Monday.

“Jack was a pillar of the legal and professional community. He was a firm believer in due process, First Amendment rights, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” said an emotional Honowitz. “We’ve lost a giant.”

Palladino started his career in the 1970s, at a time when private detectives were portrayed on television as glamorous and cool. He worked on high-profile cases ranging from the Jonestown mass suicides to celebrity and political scandals, including former President Bill Clinton and musician Courtney Love.

Palladino’s career began when as a student at the University of California, Berkeley’s law school the family of Patty Hearst hired him to assist in investigating her 1974 kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Party.

On Thursday, Palladino had just stepped outside his San Francisco home to try out a new camera when a car pulled up and a man jumped out to try and grab it from him, police and the detective’s stepson Nick Chapman told the San Francisco Chronicle.

As the suspect grabbed the camera, Palladino fell and hit his head on the pavement.

His camera held images of the suspects who have been arrested.

“He helped solve his own murder,” said Honowitz.

By Janie Har