He finally fell from grace after decades influencing the media when he was convicted of eight counts of the crime, carried out between 1977 and 1984.
Passing sentence at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Anthony Leonard told him his personality and position in the public eye were the reasons his crimes were not revealed earlier.
He said: “The reason why they were not brought to light sooner was because of your own dominant character and your position in the world of entertainment which meant that your victims thought that you were untouchable, something that I think you too believed.
“These offences may have taken place a long time ago, when inappropriate and trivial sexual behaviour was more likely to be tolerated, but your offending was not trivial, but of a very serious nature.”
The judge said that due to the age of the offences, Clifford was charged under an act from 1956, which set the maximum term for each charge at two years. Under legislation passed in 2003, the maximum term would have been 10 years, and for the worst instances would have been charged as rape or assault by penetration, which attract a maximum life term.
Clifford repeatedly shook his head as the judge made his comments to a packed courtroom, and later his solicitor said he may launch an appeal. The former celebrity agent, who branded his accusers “fantasists”, remained defiant ahead of his sentencing, saying: “I stand by everything I have said in the last 17 months.”
A string of his clients have moved to distance themselves from him in the wake of his conviction, the first under the sex crime inquiry Operation Yewtree.
Describing his extensive charitable work, the judge said: “Although your charitable work has gone on for a long time after your offending stopped, I cannot ignore that for decades you were leading a double existence.”
During his trial, prosecutors portrayed Clifford as a well-practiced manipulator, who promised to boost his victims’ careers and get them to meet celebrities in exchange for sexual favours.
He offered to get them casting appointments, pretending to be Hollywood bigwigs including Steven Spielberg and Michael Winner on the phone, and bizarrely bragged about having a tiny penis.
Victims included one girl who said Clifford abused her on a number of occasions after he met her family on holiday in Spain in 1977 when she was 15.
Another alleged victim, who was an extra in the film Octopussy, claimed she was targeted at Clifford’s office in 1981 or 1982, aged 19.
Another victim was an aspiring model who went to his office in the 1980s, when she was in her late teens.
The judge condemned Clifford’s “contemptuous” behaviour during the trial, referring to a strange encounter when he was filmed mimicking Sky News reporter Tom Parmenter.
The judge said: “For my part, I would add something that since the jury have returned verdicts I have discovered, that you appeared behind a reporter outside this court whilst he was making his report of your evidence and during which you mimicked his actions in a way that was designed to trivialise these events.
“I find your behaviour to be quite extraordinary and a further indication that you show no remorse.”