There have been bodyguards throughout history for as long as there were people of power and importance that needed to be safeguarded from bodily harm in the world. Most movies and television series tend to portray these bodyguards as having an exciting and exotic lifestyle and career, but in reality it is mostly tedious and sometimes dangerous. The long hours and standing on your feet for lengthy periods of time can really take a toll on the human body, too. Here are ten interesting facts about bodyguards you probably didn’t know.
At the time, Hitler was the single most important person in Germany, so it makes sense he had a dedicated bodyguard on him at all times. Rochus Misch, of the SS, was Adolf Hitler’s personal bodyguard throughout the war. He was captured and tortured by the Russians after the war, then released. Misch was the final survivor of the bunker where Hitler committed suicide. He just died in 2013 at the age of 96.
Being a bodyguard is a job that requires a lot of responsibility. You must always be on edge, ready to grab your gun, and perhaps even take a bullet for someone you barely know at the time. It is not an easy lifestyle.
Al Capone’s Brother
Al Capone, the infamous gangster, was born into an Italian family with nine children. His brothers, Ralph and Frank, joined him in a life of crime. James, however, served in World War 1. He later earned the nickname “Two Gun Hart” for carrying dual pearl-handled pistols. He ended up serving as a bodyguard to US President Calvin Coolidge.
Trevor Rees-Jones served as the bodyguard to Egyptian heir Dodi Fayed. In 1997, Rees-Jones was in a vehicle with the heir while evading paparazzi. The vehicle crashed into a wall at 65 miles-per-hour, killing Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul. Trevor survived, but his face was completely destroyed.
Walter Thompson was the personal bodyguard to Winston Churchill during World War 2. He served two stints with the leader, totaling 18 years in all. Thompson was the man who defended Churchill when the French prime minister tried to attack him in a rage.
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan, a well known actor from The Green Mile, had his start as a bodyguard to the big-name individuals in entertainment. He served Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace. In 1997, Wallace took on more security in the wake of Tupac’s death. Duncan was scheduled to work the very night the rapper was killed, but switched shifts with a co-worker just beforehand.
Female bodyguards were considered incredibly rare for the longest time. In recent years, however, they have become more popular. Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi would often use female bodyguards, known as “Amazonian Guard” to protect him. They could blend in easier with a crowd, it was said.
The entire process for hiring a bodyguard is quite intensive, as these are life-threatening situations that may occur. Sometimes things go wrong, though, and a bodyguard turns into an assassin. For example, on October 31, 1984, two bodyguards for Indira Gandhi turned on the man and shot him dead.
Roosevelt “Rosey” Grief was known first as a defensive tackle for the football team The New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams. After retiring, he acted as a bodyguard to Kennedy’s wife, Ethel Kennedy. Grier managed to disarm an assassin who was after the woman.
Lincoln’s Missing Bodyguard
In 1865, the Secret Service formed to protect the president of the United States. This was the same year that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. However, the agency failed to protect the president. The agent at the scene went to have a drink at a nearby Star Saloon during the infamous play’s intermission instead. He was not there when the president was killed.