Thomas Fitzsimmons is an author, veteran, model, former police officer, and former actor. I mean, it’s all things. He just happened to be my mom’s fiancé and I’ve known him since I was very young.
He’s smart, cute, persuasive, an amazing writer and I couldn’t be happier that he’s on the blog today. I wanted to pick his brain on what it’s like to be a celebrity’s bodyguard and how it all works.
Thomas was on The slim podcast HIM & HER Where he told us all about Donald Trump & Studio 54 the day before. Currently, he is Catherine Zeta-Jones and the bodyguard of Michael Douglas.
In this post he will tell us all about the life of a famous bodyguard, how he got into the industry, and his advice to anyone looking to become a bodyguard.
Let’s welcome Thomas skinny secret.
♡ Introduce yourself to the audience.
Thomas Fitzsimons: Hello. I’m Thomas Fitzsimmons. Born and raised in New York of Irish descent – Virginia, Cavan County. I am a US Navy veteran and former New York City police officer, TV opera/TV ad/movie actor, Ford model and private detective/bodyguard.
I am the author of three Michael Beckett novels, a collection of short stories, a memoir, and three screenplays. I have sold stories for New York Magazine, Esquire magazine, and Douglas Wick, an American film producer whose work includes The Gladiator, Stuart Little, and Memoirs of a Geisha. I am a recognized security expert and have appeared in good morning america and other TV shows on the network.
♡ Tell us about your journey as a police officer and bodyguard.
TF: Like many police officers, I became frustrated with “the job” by the lack of support from politicians who, when pressure began, chose to glorify the rights of violent professional criminals and denigrate cops. A few months before leaving NYPD, I “discovered” Eileen Ford of the world famous Ford Model Agency which led to a successful 10 year modeling/acting career.
Word has spread that I have a law enforcement background in the fashion and entertainment industry. Suddenly people were looking for me, asking me for my advice on how to deal with stalkers, hackers, drug dealers who took over an apartment building, embezzlers, sexual harassers, etc. and I would refer most of these individuals to various law enforcement agencies & act as a liaison when necessity. Sometimes I might personally get involved with those whose problems were outside the scope of law enforcement.
You’ve assembled an elite group of “Rockers” – guns for rent – to deal with thugs that the police can’t or can’t touch. We were the “Equalizers” long before Denzel Washington or Queen Latifah. My security business grew from there and before I knew it, I was a full-time Principal Investigator/bodyguard.
one of my stories, Confessions of a police suicide, – described as fiction for obvious reasons – dealing with that time of my life.
♡ I worked with the top of the top. What do celebrities look for in a bodyguard?
TF: Different celebrities look for different qualities. Proficiency in the use of weapons and hand-to-hand combat is a foregone conclusion. However, a bodyguard who keeps his mouth shut – speaking to the client only when spoken to – is universally required. “Friendly is not familiar” is the motto of the bodyguard.
Celebrities do not hire us as friends or companions. They don’t give a rat donkey how we feel, or what our opinions are about anything. They want us to do the job, get them on and off without incident. My team – all armed – appears to the outside world as businessmen merging anywhere. On the other hand, rappers hire larger-than-life bodyguards with the aim of intimidating and drawing attention. When deciding whether to engage with a new client, I perform a risk assessment. Then I advise them with the level of security that I think is necessary. I might only recommend an armed driver, or an entire team of high-risk individuals. Regardless, I pick every factor.
♡ Can you tell us an interesting story?
TF: No, we sign strict non-disclosure agreements – non-disclosure agreements. However, one incident is not taboo: While Oscar, BAFTA, Tony Award and Screen Actors Guild-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was starring in “A Little Night Music” on Broadway, Academy Award-winning actor John continued Voight in stopping at Walter Kerr Theater saying, “Tell Catherine I just want to say hi.”
She told me one look in the actor’s eyes was different; He was smitten. It is no surprise that Cath is one of the most beautiful women in the world. But she was usually busy practicing and never met Voight, so she objected. Since he knew I understood his intentions, Voight was generous when I regretted it. Doesn’t mean he gave up. He appeared in the theater five times. I pushed him away five times. About a year later, Kath and her husband, Michael Douglas, sat down at a table at the Robin Hood Fundraising Foundation. Who was sitting next to Cath, a big smile on his face? Voight and I close eyes. He smiled at me and pointed my thumbs up. She smiled and smiled back.
♡ 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 action”. This is where we examine the lives of high-risk celebrities and then plan their every move. Think of any credible threats, any known enemies. Things like crowd control, traffic routes, getting to and from an interview, appearing on the red carpet, or dinner at a restaurant. Although the unexpected can happen.
One evening, I was bodyguards for Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Primetime Emmy Award winning actress, Geena Davis, at the movie’s premiere. A paparazzi, usually an enemy of celebrities, warned me of a very restless, disheveled man lurking in a crowd of fans, muttering the name Jenna. I assigned two men to the man who, when Gina and I walked off the stage to our limousine, cracked through the crowd, pulled a screwdriver, and rushed in our direction. My friends put it down. Difficult. He disarmed, restrained him, and handed him over to the police. To this day, Jenna has no idea what happened.
♡ What does the interview for a celebrity bodyguard job look like? He moved us through the process.
TF: I only hire and recommend former law enforcement and military people with personal protection experience – usually bodyguards for politicians or high-ranking military officials. I’m looking for someone who impresses me as a team player, looks comfortable in conservative work clothes, and most importantly, is completely unaffected by celebrity glamour. Outstanding talkative people do not need to be introduced.
♡ I have written a lot of books which is impressive! What are some of the tools and tactics you use to write a book?
TF: If you are going to be a writer, you have to be a reader first. I don’t use tools or tricks when writing a book. You come up with an idea, sit down and write. I don’t prescribe or plan in any way – for me, it’s easier to write an entire book than to try to outline it.
Discipline is the key. “There is nothing for it, but to do it.” I don’t think about who my audience is, or if the book will be commercial and will sell. Write and read for enjoyment. Although I must admit that if people like what I write, I am very happy.
♡ What happens when the famous person you work with is hard to keep track of? (Parties, going out with friends, etc.)
TF: I always “keep an eye” on my clients, so keeping track of them is not an issue. Whether I use a restroom or go out to smoke, I or a member of my people are with them. All my constant clients are mature, established and not partying. Their idea of a raucous night out is an after-dinner nightcap at the Carlyle Hotel’s ultra-sophisticated Bemelmans piano bar.
♡ What are your tips for someone who wants to enter the industry?
TF: Like any well-paid company, it is competitive. Almost every person retired from law enforcement tries their hand at the industry. If I were to start over, I would gain as much work experience as possible in a police department or military. Next, depending on what type of bodyguard job suits you – are you Mr. T or Kevin Costner? – I will find a job with a suitable agency. Learn all that is internal and pan. Create your own contacts. Keep the king’s mouth shut. Ears open.
♡ Where can everyone find you? Strengthen yourself!
TF: My books, which are actually based on thriller stories, are available at www.amazon.com Or you can order hard copies at any brick-and-mortar bookstore. I am represented by the literary agent David Vigliano.
Regarding my security work: I no longer ask for new clients. However, I put bodyguards and armed drivers on and look for the best talent in the field. To be frank, I’ve found that the vast majority of people who want to hire an armed driver/bodyguard can’t afford it or are looking to hire someone on the cheap. As in any business, you get what you pay for.
Serious inquiries only please. [email protected]
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