Hired Guns: Armed Guards Latest Celeb Accessory

Olsen's body guards earned a reputation for being aggressive. They would stop at green lights with paps on their tail and then gun it just as the light turned red, Hanson said. Flores said they would push photographers and put them in headlocks. Finally, the twins dumped them, perhaps because they were becoming a liability, Flores said.

Weaver said most celebrities want their bodyguards unarmed. "If a situation gets really hostile, some bodyguard is going to want to pull a gun out," he said. "And the celebrity is going to have to end up paying for that."

Certainly there have been times when the ex-military, 6-foot 4-inch, 300-pound bodyguard has had to pack heat – for example when he rolled with Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight for a few days before deciding the job was too dangerous, or when visiting a couple of night spots with Murphy.

It was at one New York nightclub where he accompanied Murphy and his good friend singer Johnny Gil in the early 1990s that he saw Gil's bodyguard get shot in the chest by a clubgoer who was rebuffed twice by the guard from taking a picture of Gil.

Weaver said he tries to use his mind instead of muscle in most situations. In most cases, he said, a gun is unwarranted, especially for guards protecting properties where the people most likely to trespass are either photographers, the homeless or rabid fans.

"All you need is a body on the property," he said. "When Madonna lived in the Hollywood Hills, she had an armed guy. And this homeless guy got over the gate and the guard shot the guy."

When the homeless would trespass on Murphy's estate, Weaver would first scare them, then bring them in, feed them, give them $20 and take their pictures and get their names so he'd have a record to give the cops if they did it again.

Brad Elterman, Flores's partner in Buzz Foto, said he knows at least one security firm that is doing the same thing when it comes to paparazzi. The company posted pictures of photographers, along with their addresses and license plates, on its Web site. "It's a little scary," he said.

Elterman, who has been shooting celebrities since the 1970s, when the famous paparazzo Ron Gallela was his mentor, said there's a celebrity food chain in Hollywood, of which security guards are a part. "The phenomenon of celebrity is keeping these guys in business," he said.

The money and the lifestyle are also alluring, Weaver said. "There have been times you can sit back and enjoy the celebrity life. You're right in the middle," he said. "If they're eating caviar, you're eating it. You're flying on the jet with them. Sometimes you get a five-, 10-grand cash bonus."

Weaver recalled a time he was working with Sylvester Stallone in Miami. Stallone, wearing a $15,000 white suit he had just purchased, was hanging out at a bar when he turned away one woman who was making aggressive advances at him. The woman returned with a shaken coke bottle and released the contents of it all over Stallone's suit.

Stallone went to grab the woman and Weaver and another bodyguard grabbed him instead and hustled him out of the bar. Later, Stallone handed Weaver $5,000 and said, "I would have punched her and that would have cost me a million. I would rather pay you five grand," he said.

Situations like that can go right to a bodyguard's head. "You can't get caught up in that," Weaver said. "Once you do, you lose focus on your job. You're not the celebrity. You're the bodyguard."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 5471050.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...