For security reasons, a lot of high-profile celebrities, prominent businessmen as well as world leaders would hire a bodyguard or two, or sometimes even a team of them as long as they can afford! Here are some of the fascinating facts about bodyguards:
On April 14, 1865 — the night when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated — a District of Columbia police officer by the name of John Parker was assigned to keep a watch over him at the Ford Theater. During the play’s intermission, though, Parker left the theater to have some drink at a nearby saloon.
Now with Lincoln unguarded, the well-known actor John Wilkes Booth seized the opportunity by creeping up to the theater balcony where he and his party were seated. Wilkes shot Lincoln in the back of the head. The President died the following morning.
Despite his failure to protect Lincoln, Parker remained in his job. He would be even assigned as a bodyguard to Mrs. Lincoln who, not surprisingly, was still blaming him for her husband’s death. Parker remained a policeman until 1868 when he was fired for sleeping on duty.
The late actor Michael Clarke Duncan, known for his breakout role in The Green Mile, was a struggling young actor trying to get parts in commercials. At the same time, he also worked as a bodyguard for celebrities such as the hip-hop/rap artist Notorious B.I.G.
On March 8, 1997, Duncan was supposed to be the bodyguard of the Notorious B.I.G. at a night party hosted by Vibe magazine, but he switched shifts with a colleague who was doing security duties for Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
Having just come out from the party during the wee hours of the morning on March 9, 1997, the Notorious B.I.G. was killed in a drive-in shooting. When Duncan heard the tragic news the next morning, he knew that he had to leave the personal-protection business for good
Apart from keeping a close watch over his charges, other responsibilities of a bodyguard also include responding quickly when a crisis arises, traveling with the client in every place he/she goes when possible, giving warnings to his clients, and keeping a low profile when necessary.
After his retirement from professional football, Grier also worked as a bodyguard for his friend, Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was aspiring to run for president. He was guarding Kennedy’s wife, Ethel, on the night when her husband was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968.
After the shooting itself took place, Grier and other two security personnel managed to hold down and disarm the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan. Sadly, Senator Kennedy died the next day.
Trevor Reese-Jones is a British bodyguard, known as the only survivor of the car crash that killed Princess Diana and her beau Dodi Fayed on August 31, 1997. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz, Henri Paul, was dead on the spot.
Reese-Jones suffered severe head and face injuries. His face was later carefully reconstructed by oral and maxillofacial surgery. Within a year, his face almost went back to its normal shape and appearance.
Early reports cited that Reese-Jones survived because he was the only one who was wearing a seat belt. However, it was later revealed that all of them inside the car wasn’t wearing a seat belt at all.
Walter H. Thompson served as Winston B. Churchill’s bodyguard from 1921 to 1935, and then from 1939 to 1945, by the time the latter was serving as Prime Minister. Thompson saved Churchill’s life more than a dozen times from many threats including plots by the IRA, the Nazis, and the Arabs as well as from some deranged lunatics.
Although Al Capone and James Capone were brothers, each of them took remarkably different paths. While Al joined the world of organized crime, James left home at 16 and later served in World War I.
James tried his best to ditch his Brooklyn accent and hide his Italian ancestry. He changed his name to Richard Hart (after his idol, the cowboy movie star William S. Hart). He married and soon made a new home in Homer, Nebraska where he became a Prohibition officer.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs hired Hart as a special agent to oversee and control the existence of alcohol on several Indian reservations. In 1927 Hart was assigned as a bodyguard of President Calvin Coolidge and his family when they visited Black Hills, South Dakota. This is quite bizarre and ironic, considering that his brother Al rose to notoriety as a gangster running the biggest crime syndicate at that time.
The process of hiring someone to become bodyguards isn’t at all easy — after all, you’re being hired not just for the mere job of protecting, but also for your loyalty. However, there are several instances that bodyguards became the assassins. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was also a Hindu, was gunned down by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation due to clashes between the Sikhs and the Hindus.
If you want to be a good and competent bodyguard, you should have all of these: highly trained in firearms, combat, self-defense, managing and controlling crowds and surveying areas. Most clients also look for bodyguards with a military or police background. If you are actively seeking employment as a bodyguard, you should also need professional training apart from field experience. A lot of private schools offer short courses or training of this kind where students learn everything they need to know e.g., acknowledging laws relating to protective security so that they will be able to protect their wards without the possibility of falling into legal or civil liability.
While female bodyguards are quite rare, in recent years the demand for them has been growing. For one, overthrown Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi kept a retinue of highly-trained lady killers known as “Amazonian Guard” as his bodyguards. Many wealthy Arab families prefer female bodyguards for religious reasons, as they feel uneasy with an unrelated male being around their wives and daughters. Prince William and Kate Middleton have also been seen with a lady bodyguard.
Female bodyguards are also becoming increasingly in demand among the Russians and the Chinese. The statuesque Russian beauty Anna Logoniva had been a model before becoming a trained bodyguard. Despite her training, she was killed in a carjacking incident in Moscow in 2008, aged 29.
Rochus Misch, a member of the SS, served as a bodyguard and courier to Adolf Hitler during World War II. Misch was reportedly present at the Führerbunker when the newly-married couple Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in 1945. He was the last known survivor of that bunker.
Following the end of the war, Misch was captured and tortured by the Soviets who also sentenced him to hard labor. Eight years later he was freed, and he and his wife Gerda moved to what then was West Berlin to start their own business.
Funnily enough, Gerda — who married Misch in 1938 — was of Jewish descent. The couple remained together until Gerda’s death in 1998. Their daughter Brigitta Jacob-Engelken later publicly revealed her mother’s true ancestry in 2009, and afterward became a staunch supporter of Jewish and anti-Nazi causes.
But despite those things and even in the last years of his life, Rochus Misch’s didn’t show any remorse for having worked for Hitler. More so, he was still loyal to his boss, so he was sort of a Nazi apologist. He later said about Hitler: “He was no brute. He was no monster. He was no superman,” and claimed that Hitler was “very normal” unlike what was portrayed in the history books. Misch died in 2013, aged 96.