The life of a famous bodyguard


Thomas Fitzsimmons is an author, veteran, model, former police officer and former actor. I mean, he’s everything. He was also my mother’s fiancé and I have known him since I was a child.

He is a smart, kind, convincing, amazing writer and I couldn’t be happier to be on the blog today. I wanted to check out to him what it’s like to be a bodyguard for celebrities and how it all works.

Thomas was involved Skinny confidential HER AND HER podcast where he had previously told us all about Donald Trump and Studio 54. He is currently the bodyguard of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.

In this post he will tell us all about the life of a bodyguard, about how he got into the industry and tips for anyone who wants to become a bodyguard.

Welcome to Thomas Skinny Confidential.


Introduce yourself to the audience.

Thomas Fitzsimmons: Hi. I’m Thomas Fitzsimmons. Born and raised New Yorker of Irish descent – Virginia, Cavan County. I am a U.S. Navy veteran and former New York City police officer, a soap opera / TV commercial / film actor, a Ford model, and a private detective / bodyguard.

I am the author of three novels by Michael Beckett, a collection of short stories, memoirs and three screenplays. I sold the stories to New York Magazine, Esquire, and Douglas Wick, an American film producer whose work includes Gladiator, Stuart Little and the memoirs of a geisha. I am a recognized security expert and I have appeared Good morning America and other network TV shows.

Tell us about your journey as a police officer and bodyguard.

TF: Like many police officers, I was disappointed with the “job” because of the lack of support from politicians who, when it came to pushing, decided to glorify the rights of violent criminal criminals and slander police officers. A few months before leaving the NYPD, I was “discovered” by Eileen Ford of the world-renowned Ford Model Agency, leading to a successful 10-year modeling / acting career.

The word that I have experience in law enforcement has spread in the fashion and entertainment industry. Suddenly people were looking for me and asking for advice on how to deal with persecutors, bullies, drug dealers who occupied an apartment building, embezzlement, sexual predators, and so on. I would refer most of these people to various law enforcement agencies and act as a liaison when needed. Sometimes I would personally get involved in those whose problems go beyond the scope of law enforcement.

I gathered an elite group of “rockers” – weapons for rent – to deal with thugs that the police could not or would not touch. We were “equalizers” long before Denzel Washington or Queen Latifah. My insurance business has grown since then and before I knew it, I was a full-time PI / bodyguard.

One of my novels, Confession of a police suicide, – for obvious reasons – which was invented as fiction – deals with that period of my life.

You worked with the top tip. What do celebrities ask of bodyguards?

TF: Different celebrities are looking for different qualities. Knowledge of weapons and hand-to-hand combat is given. However, it is universally required to have a bodyguard who keeps his tongue closed – he only talks to the client when he is talking to him. “Friendly unknown” is the bodyguard’s mantra.

Celebrities don’t hire us as friends or companions. Rats don’t care how we feel or what our opinion is about anything. They want us to do the job, to bring them to and without incident. My teams – all armed – look to the outside world like business people who fit anywhere. On the other hand, rappers employ larger bodyguards whose goal is to intimidate and divert attention. When deciding whether to take on a new client, I conduct a risk assessment. I will then advise them on the level of security I deem necessary. I can only recommend an armed driver or an entire team for high-risk individuals. Regardless, I select each and every operative manually.

Can you tell us a juicy story?

TF: No. We sign iron NDA disclosure agreements. However, one incident that is not banned: While the Oscar, BAFTA Award, Tony and Guild of Film Actors is an award-winning actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones starred in “Little Night Music” on Broadway, Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight constantly stopped by the Walter Kerr Theater saying, “Tell Catherine I just want to say goodbye.”

One look in the actor’s eyes told me otherwise; he was hit. No wonder Cath is one of the most beautiful women in the world. But she was usually busy rehearsing and never met Voight so she was speechless. Knowing that I understood his intentions, Voight was gracious when I expressed regret. Not that he gave up. He appeared in the theater five times. I turned him down five times. About a year later, Cath and husband Michael Douglas sat at a fundraising table at the Robin Hood Foundation. Who was sitting next to Cath, with a big smile on her face? Voight and I locked our eyes. He smiled at me and my thumb is up. I smiled and retaliated.

Have you ever been in a dangerous situation and how did you deal with it?

TF: As they say in the entertainment industry, “The secret to successful production is pre-production.” In the world of bodyguards, the key to avoiding dangerous situations is “advanced work”. There we carefully study the lives of high-risk celebrities and then plan their every move. Consider all credible threats, known enemies. Things like traffic control, traffic directions, going to and from interviews, appearing on the red carpet or having dinner at a restaurant. Although it can happen unexpectedly.

One night at the movie premiere, I was the keeper of the Oscars, the Golden Globe and the Primetime Emmy, the award-winning actress, Gina Davis. The paparazzi, usually a famous enemy, warned me of a very upset, disheveled guy lurking in a crowd of fans, muttering Gina’s name. I assigned two men to a guy who, when Gina and I left the theater, headed for our limousine, broke through the crowd, pulled a screwdriver, and lunged in our direction. My guys took it off. Hard. They disarmed him and restrained him and handed him over to the police. To this day, Gina has no idea what happened.

What’s the interview like to get a job as a famous bodyguard? Take us through the process.

TF: I only hire former law enforcement officers who have experience in personal protection — usually bodyguard politicians or senior military officials — and come recommended. I’m looking for someone I like as a team player, looks comfortable in conservative business attire and, most importantly, isn’t completely impressed with the glamor and celebrity characters. Unpleasant, conspicuous people do not have to apply.

You have written many books which is very impressive! What tools and tactics do you use to write a book?

TF: If you want to be a writer, you must first be a reader. I don’t use tools or tricks when writing a book. I come up with an idea, sit down and write. I don’t sketch or plan ahead in any way – it’s easier for me to write an entire book than to try to describe one.

Discipline is key. “There’s nothing there to do.” I don’t think about who my audience is, or whether the book is commercial and will be sold. I write and read for pleasure. Although I have to admit that if people like what I write, I’m thrilled.

What happens when the celebrity you work with is hard to follow? (Parties, going out with friends, etc.)

TF: I always “watch” my clients so tracking is not a problem. Whether you use the toilet or go out to smoke, I or one of my people is with them. All my regular clients are mature, established and don’t like parties. Their idea of ​​a wild night out is dinner after dinner at the ultra sophisticated Bemelmans piano bar at the Carlyle Hotel.

What are your tips for someone who wants to get into the industry?

TF: Like any well-paid job, it is competitive. Almost every retired law enforcement person is trying out in the industry. To start over, I would gain as much practical experience in the police or military as possible. Then, depending on what kind of bodyguard job you are responsible for – are you Mr. T or Kevin Costner? – I would find a job in a suitable agency. Learn the sources. Establish your own contacts. Keep your fucking mouth shut. Open ears.

Where can everyone find you? Get down!

TF: My books, which are based on thrillers, are available at Or you can order printed copies from any brick bookstore. I am represented by a literary agent David Vigliano.

As for my protection business: I no longer look for new clients. However, I set up bodyguards, armed chauffeurs and headhunters best in the business. To be honest, I have found that the vast majority of people who want to hire an armed driver / bodyguard cannot afford it or want to hire someone cheaply. As with any business, you get what you pay for.

Just serious questions, please. [email protected]


Be sure to check out Thomas Skinny confidential HER AND HER podcast for all the juice and get his latest book, Confession of a famous bodyguard.

x, lauryn

+ range this post by the author, Zara Barrie.

++ look at these 5 tips from Jamie O’Banion about balancing work and family.


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