Tom Muzila Interview
Part 2 - Bodyguarding Years
MAWM - What got you involved in bodyguarding?
Muzila - When I was in Special Forces in Bolivia, working special ops, I was a consultant to Bolivian government/military types. This was shortly after Che Guevara was captured in 1967 and his revolutionaries were stating to become aggressive in 1971 when I was there. We had four Special Forces A-Team groups there with 12 people on a team. We had to protect the leaders in the government since the guerrillas wanted to kill them. Our specific task was to guard Bolivian politicians and military seniors that were on the guerrillas hit list. While we were there there were a number of assassination attempts, from ambushes to booby-traps.
MAWM - Were you involved in any of the ambushes?
Muzila - Yes but we nullified the threat. We sent a point car in with doubles for the principal client and they were able to detect the attack and retaliate and escape before the real principal client arrived. I was with the principal client so I couldn't afford to join in with the regular military operations.
MAWM - Were you treated well in Bolivia?
Muzila - No, we were in the background - and were disguised as natives, so we couldn't afford to join in with the festivities.
MAWM - How did you get started in the bodyguarding business back in the states?
Muzila - When I got back to Ft. Bragg, I had a couple of private jobs protecting a millionaire before I got out of the service.
MAWM - And after your discharge?
Muzila - I was recruited by a friend in Atlanta to protect a wealthy businessman when he traveled in his private plane. He traveled with a lot of money and jewelry.
MAWM - Any interesting jobs during that time?
Muzila - The craziest job I had was when an organization I was with contracted to protect a group of exotic dancers.
MAWM - Then what?
Muzila - The senior members of a yoga group asked me to be their teacher's bodyguard. There was a lot of controversy about his organization. My main task was to train people in his group how to protect him. At one of the yoga retreats, I met Siri Dharma . She later introduced me to Steven Seagal. At that time, he was trying to get his first film together ("Above the Law"). He had been doing bodyguarding jobs for years. We did a few jobs together - usually with affluent people. The biggest one we did was to protect Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This involved Steve, Bill Ungerman and several of Steve's people. Tutu was to receive the Integrity Award from the John Rogers Foundation. At that time he was high on a hit list (may have been the KGB or some revolutionary English group in South Africa). Seagal and I met with the security head at the Beverly Hilton. They wouldn't allow us to carry weapons. Luckily, everything went smooth.
MAWM - And then?
Muzila - I was very active for a long time protecting celebrities. You can see the list on http://muzila.webjump.com.
MAWM - When did you develop "Bodyguard Supreme?"
Muzila - With each job I needed help and I developed a sizable crew to assist me. I still have about 25 people I call on to assist.
MAWM - What was your biggest job?
Muzila - I worked with Ted Field as his personal bodyguard. He was an heir to the Marshall Field Department Stores, and one of the biggest movie producers. I worked with him for 5 years. Field was a democratic supporter and had a lot of meetings with important people in his home. Clinton came to his house before he became president. I had the responsibility to cover that one. I traveled around the world with Ted on various six week excursions. The most complicated ones were at Aspen and all through Europe. I also had to protect his kids during this period. Mr. Field was very careful with his family and friends, because of the Patty Hurst kidnapping. Usually on these trips there would be ten or more bodyguards covering the operation and we would stay in the best hotels. One of my jobs in Europe was to carry cash. I did it in a brown paper bag to be inconspicious.
MAWM - Any other politicians?
Muzila - I also protected Ronald Reagan and Michael Decacus.
MAWM - How large were the groups you protected?
Muzila - Some of the events had up to 1200 people to 3,500 people at them to protect. One outing was to protect Bruce Springsteen at his home where he had Sting playing in his backyard. That tapped me into another level.
MAWM - And what is your bodyguarding activity now?
Muzila - I do a lot of security for celebrities on movie sets. I protected the crowd at the Jack Webb Awards recently. Also did the Wilt Chamberlain Memorial. I also worked a 3 day session with the Jewish Kabalah group in Orange County. We had one incident there. A guy came out of the blue to give a gift to one of the Jewish leaders. I was going to take the gift to the back lot and open it. But when I looked in the guy's face, I knew that there was nothing wrong. I covered Dr. Leroy Perry's grand opening recently. He is a top sports medicine doctor.. the official doctor for the Olympics. Warren Beatty, Sharon Stone Rachel Welch, and Annette Benning were there. It took 25 guys to cover it. I worked with Warren Beatty's son, teaching him karate. Warren is very focused and has a strong interest in the martial arts.
MAWM - What is the most unusual request you have had?
Muzila - A lady called me and wanted me to rescue her husband from a cult group in Hawaii. She had lots of money. I started getting red flags on that one and after a little digging found out that she was fanatical crazy woman with a "fatal attraction" pursuit of the guy who wasn't her husband.