Jack Palladino, the flamboyant private investigator whose clients ranged from presidents and corporate whistle-blowers to scandal-plagued celebrities, Hollywood moguls and sometimes suspected drug traffickers, died on Monday at age 76. Palladino suffered a devastating brain injury Thursday after a pair of would-be robbers tried to grab his camera outside his home in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. He held on to the camera but fell and struck his head, and the photos he took before his attackers fled were used by police to track down two suspects. They were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and other crimes. Legendary US television host Larry King dies at 87 “He would have loved knowing that,” his wife, Sandra Sutherland, said. She added that she had told her husband while he lay unconscious in hospital: “Guess what, Jack, they got the bastards, and it was all your doing.” In a career spanning more than 40 years, Palladino worked for a who’s who of the famous and the sometimes infamous, alternately hailed as a hero or denounced as a villain, depending on who his client was at the time. He was hired by Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign to put a lid on women who were coming forward to claim they had sex with the future president. He was also the investigator for the family of a 14-year-old boy who won a multimillion-dollar settlement from Michael Jackson after accusing the entertainer of molesting him. Jackson was never charged with a crime in that case. Two of his most prominent clients were former tobacco company executive and whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand and former automotive executive John DeLorean. In the Wigand case, Palladino uncovered a deliberate campaign by Big Tobacco to smear the former executive for Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp after his allegations became public that tobacco products were spiked with chemicals to make them more addictive. Palladino also went on to play himself in The Insider , the 1999 film about the case. Music producer Phil Spector, convicted of murder, dead at 81 Although he still took the occasional case, Palladino had largely retired a year ago, his wife said, adding that the two were looking forward to travelling and pursuing photography, which was a passion for both of them. The couple married in 1977, the same year they founded Palladino & Sutherland Investigations. Their clients included everyone from the Black Panthers and Hells Angels to celebrities like Courtney Love, Robin Williams and Kevin Costner. They once recovered a truckload of stolen equipment for the Grateful Dead, and Palladino spent years investigating the mass suicide of the Jonestown cult in Guyana. Some celebrity clients, like Williams and Costner, were the targets of fan or tabloid abuse. In Love’s case, she was being linked to unfounded allegations that she played a role in the suicide of her husband, Kurt Cobain.