Devotion to the Profession: 5 Bodyguards That Risked Their Life For Their Famous Clients

Most jobs don’t require you to get between a deranged individual to protect another (potentially deranged) individual. On the other hand a life of pencil pushing, paper pandering or desk jockeying if you will, isn’t even remotely as exciting as being shot at for a living. But does the life of a bodyguard imitate a Michael Bay movie with explosions, machine gun fire and really bad male anatomy jokes? (see video below). Actually most bodyguards try to avoid confrontations as it puts them at a disadvantage (in a reactionary position) and also jeopardizes their clients’ health. Once in a while, though, these personal security individuals are forced to react, and in most cases prefer that they get injured in lieu of their clients. These are a few individuals that went above and beyond the call of duty, risking their lives for their valuable clients.

Leslie W. Coffelt – Died protecting a president

Coffelt was posted as a guard at the Blair House (an auxiliary home for Presidents close to the White House) which was housing then President Harry Truman. During this period the U.S. Government was attempting to establish Puerto Rico as a U.S. Territory and were engaging in military action against rebels that sought P.R. independence. Two members of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico (a party which promoted P.R. independence) Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola created a plan to bring attention to the killing of rebels by the Government, but it involved assassinating president Truman. After Collazo shot another presidential guard in the knee, he entered the area surrounding the Blair House but was gunned down by a Secret Service agent that had heard the gunfire. Torresola approached the building on the opposite side and at close range shot Officer Coffelt four times in the stomach gravely injuring him. Before Coffelt would mortally succumb to his wounds though, he staggered out his guard house, propped himself against it and killed Torresola with a shot behind the ear. Officer Coffelt died immediately after neutralizing Torresola.    


Military Officer Henry Reed Rathbone

Although Reed Rathbone was not an official bodyguard he did sustain a serious stab wound while attempting to apprehend the man that fatally shot U.S. President and slave abolisher Abraham Lincoln. Ironically, the evening that President Lincoln was going to the theatre he turned towards his then bodyguard William E. Crook and said: “Goodbye Crook” instead of his usual “Good night Crook” this would become a prophetic adieu. Then famous actor John Wilkes Booth and Confederate sympathizer approached the president and his company shooting him in the back of the head with a single shot pistol, Reed Rathbone attempted to stop and catch Booth but he was slashed from his elbow to his the shoulder. After escorting the first lady to the location that would eventually become President Lincoln’s death bed, he collapsed due to blood-loss. A doctor soon realized the severity of the wound as it had cut through an artery on Rathbone’s arm and the depth almost ran to the bone. He would be guilt ridden due to his inability to thwart the assassination attempt for the rest of his life, inducing rapid mental decay. During a manic breakdown he attacked his children, but fatally shot and stabbed his wife that was attempting to protect them. He was not convicted of the murder but was institutionalized for the remainder of his life.

Mark “Hammer” Dixon

Most tough guys have an intimating moniker like Venom, Cobra or Stabby Von Stabby Face McGee. Most of these epithets are given to them because of a physical characteristic, or a personality trait. Mark “Hammer” Dixon is a little more deserving of his title. Dixon was protecting Australia’s most notorious underground bosses Mark “Chopper” Read, when Chopper was attacked. The reports say that a disgruntled patron at a bar Chopper was at ran at him with a claw backed hammer, but Dixon intercepted the attack, with his chest. With a claw-backed hammer imbedded in his chest Dixon took out the assailant and got Chopper to safety, unscathed. Soon after Dixon had a bowl of nails with milk over them, inspired by the hammer in his chest.

Walter H. Thompson

Perpetual bodyguard and shadow to The Winston Churchill (a historical personality that infamous it should definitely carry a ‘the’ in front of it). The thing is, as history has also shown, Winston was a cigar chomping fool - hearty further proof being that Thompson had to save Churchill on 20 separate occasion. The groups that vied for Churchill’s life seems like a veritable roaster of bad-asses (and/or bad-guys) of the 20th century, first and worst Nazi’s, IRA, Indian Nationalists, Arab Nationalists, Greek Communists (which don’t sound super intimidating to be honest, how can someone that drinks ouzo all day and read Marx really be that dangerous?) and Nazis again. The stress of the job destroyed Thompson’s marriage and actually made him have a nervous break-down. I just imagine Thompson running in front of Churchill, throwing mines off to the side and punching out secret agents, but with the pace of a Looney Toon’s cartoon, as Winston, smiling and oblivious, walks through a battlefield.

Honorable Mention – Anna Loginova

One of Russia’s most famous bodyguards, Anna Loginova was a stunning super-model turned ass-kicking martial arts expert bodyguard. After the conclusion of her modelling career she trained under ex-KGB agents in the art of taking f*ckers out the Bruce Lee way (with long elegant legs and a statuesque body though). She created the protection firm Stilet which only employed attractive female bodyguards as a more inconspicuous way to protect clients. The attractive female bodyguards would escort billionaires, their wives and mistresses (not at the same time I’m going to assume) in public, which wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow of a potential attacker, after all, rich people hang out with pretty people all the time. If that person was dumb enough to attack though, a long jimmy-choo-ed leg would swiftly and expertly incapacitate them. Wasn’t Pamela Anderson in a show like this in the 90’s? After a short lived bodyguard career she was killed due to head injuries sustained during a carjacking. Even though she had previous thwarted carjacking attempts with her Model-F,u this time she was pushed out the car, but as the ‘jacker drove away she grabbed and held on the door handle and was dragged until she sustain the deadly head injury. Some say it might have been an elaborate marketing hoax the model thought up...but look, she seems so honest!

Do you know of any other body guards that were injured or killed in the line of duty? Let me know in the comment section below!