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article imageChatting with Wayne Morgan: Bodyguard, actor, and producer Special

By Markos Papadatos     Feb 24, 2021 in Entertainment
Wayne Morgan is a former Navel VIP/Admiral Escort and Law Enforcement Officer turned bodyguard, actor, and producer. He chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos.
With all of your hard-earned titles and experience, at what point did you decide to also start doing bodyguard work?
I had done security for bands and nightclubs almost my entire adult life, but it wasn’t until 2005 in New Orleans when I was on the set of JUST MY LUCK starring Lindsay Lohan that the opportunity presented itself. While on set, Lindsay’s bodyguard and I became friends.
He learned I worked in Law Enforcement and we just seemed to hit it off. Well, one day on set he came to me and said his mother had been in a severe auto accident in Los Angeles and asked if I could take over as Lindsay’s Bodyguard for a few weeks until he got back.
He said get me your documents and I will get you on Lindsay’s payroll, which I did. A few weeks became the rest of filming and then grew to be even longer. I discovered that I truly enjoyed doing this work and that my military and law enforcement training and experience had given me a valuable perspective of the job.
Do you have to be certified to do this work?
Different states require different types of credentials mostly related to security or security work. But some states do not require any credentials. People within the industry have created valuable training programs that definitely help someone not only get jobs but also to do the job.
There are many people looking to get into this line of work so anything that gives you a leg up is good. Military experience, Law Enforcement experience, Special Forces or Swat experience, these are all very helpful. Basically, think of it like this, you have a handful of jobs available and a ton of applicants what makes you stand out? Why should someone hire you to protect their rich celebrity client? If you have a great answer for that then you might just be on your way. Being trustworthy and honest is critical.
Having a clean record helps. Having Martial Arts experience or boxing/wrestling, self defense is also sought after. Being a medic or pilot or even having a chauffeur’s license can also help. Emergency vehicle operations course are extremely valuable too. It really is the total package. And it ultimately comes down to do you and the client fit? I have seen many bodyguards get fired due to a personality conflict with the client.
Your reputation is everything. Generally, the work I get is all by word of mouth and referrals. There is a lot more to it than being a big “Meathead”. You got to adapt on the spot to emergencies with a calm demeanor. You have to work with the public at times when the client is signing autographs. You gotta watch for threats and stay close but also let the fans come (in an orderly and controlled fashion). Its not all about beating people up or look mean.
Does your military background mean that you're more sought after to be a bodyguard?
I would say yes. Many of the Bodyguards or Executive Protection Specialists I have worked with have some sort of military background. The military provides valuable Leadership experience as well as very useful skills. I was a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy for a few years before going to the United States Naval Academy Prep School and then The US Naval Academy. This gave me some excellent medical training and in fact I became an EMT Basic while in the Navy.
I also completed the EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operation Course) while in the military as well as qualified with weapons. The military also trains you in self-defense and how never to give up the fight. I could go on and on about how the military can training you well to assume the position of Bodyguard but in short there are too many to list.
Did you always do this work with celebrities?
Most of the times I do bodyguarding work it is with celebrities but on several occasions, it was business executives or foreign nationals. I have even been hired by some wealthy family to bodyguard and drive their daughter to the prom and safely back home.
It does not matter to me who I bodyguard whether is is an international recording star or a sports athlete or just someone from the general public, I treat them all the same and protect them with all of my ability. My ultimate job is to make sure they arrive home at the end of the night safely.
Many people I have bodyguard either are in the public eye or have had some actual threat against them that caused them to hire a bodyguard. A lot of time ex-lovers or stalkers become a real threat and you have to learn as much as you can about you made the threat. What the threat was and anything else relevant so that you can prevent anything from happening to your client.
How did working as a bodyguard for celebrities come about?
I started bodyguard Lindsay Lohan as a replacement for her former bodyguard when he went to be by his mother’s side after an auto accident.
You've been a bodyguard at Cannes Film Festival every year for the past 15 years (except for last year due to the pandemic). They must like you. How did you get hired for this job?
This is actually a funny story. The first time I went to the Cannes Film Festival I was doing security for Steve Greenstein AKA “The Commander”. This guy was a genius. I had me and a friend (who was a driver) go and stay with him and he brought a lot of beautiful “almost famous” women and he would go to every party in Cannes. Who would kick out a small guy dressed in a tux with a bodyguard and 6 beautiful women on his left arm and 6 beautiful women on his right arm all dress in gorgeous dresses. He did this every year. That year I met some of The Commander’s Villa Guests and we became friends. These guys then continued to bring me out each year. Then I met Mani Nordine, the owner of A.A.C. (American Artists Company) and after building a friendship based on trust he put me to work bodyguarding the many celebrity personalities and singers hey would bring to Cannes each year. In fact Mani was on the front cover of Mr. Hollywood Magazine (September 2020 issue).
We know you've worked for Paris Hilton, Lyndsay Lohan and Snoop Dog. Who are some the other clients you can mention?
Here are just a few of the people I have done security for: John Schneider, Kid Rock, Ashton Gill, Charity Bowden, John Carew, Cuba Gooding Jr, William Williams, Wiz Khalifa, the late Kim Porter (rest in power), Steven Seagal, Ray Liotta, Trevor Morgan, Luke Evans, Beau Knapp, Elton Brand, Harry Knapp, Chris Brown, Yukon Jack, Mannie Fresh, Alexander Mendeluk, Gavin Bristol, LMFAO, Chaske Spencer, Alex Meraz, Tyson Houseman, Daniel Cudmore, Mary Steenburgen, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Kelly Macdonald, Ned Beatty, Levon Helm, Justina Machado, James Gammon, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Buddy Guy, Bernard Hocke, John Sayles, the late Verne Troyer (missing you), Julio Cesar Cedilo, Gary Grubbs, Alana Locke, Tommy Lee Jones, Rio Hackford, Andrea Frankle, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson, Quincy Brown, Adam Green, ASAP Rocky, many Victoria Secret models and playboy playmates and many others individuals.
Can you tell us what would be one of the most enjoyable experiences you've had in your line of work?
I absolutely love the traveling. Weather at a big Hollywood event or at the beach. I love the incredible people I meet along the way. I love the excitement and the events. Each day is different.
One day you will be on a yacht in France and the other at Disney world. It is absolute incredible being able to see how the security teams at Disney world operate. You basically get resources everywhere you go.
People that you meet such as business owners and or restaurant owners remember you as the bodyguard and whenever you have another client and they want to eat you can call the owner and they set it up. Makes you look efficient to your client.
How would an aspiring bodyguard even begin to get into this kind of work?
I would recommend that you take as many training courses as possible. Read everything you can find on the subject. Meet those that are actually doing it and ask question. Network. Network. Network. Joining the military for a few years is not a bad idea or becoming a police officer or both. Do whatever you can to set you apart from others.
Learn a foreign language or several of them including sign language. Get familiar with weapons of all kinds and train with them. Get certified through the law enforcement standards as well as military standards including night shoots. Become very comfortable with them. Take martial arts and defense classes. As many as you can.
Take de-escalation classes. Complete a law enforcement training program. Stay physically fit. Be a person of honor. Live by a code. And never, ever give up. You will get there. I believe in you.
To learn more about Wayne Morgan, check out his IMDb page, and follow him on Instagram.
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