We Smuggled Michael Jackson Out In A Room Service Trolley

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Offline RK

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https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/11/celebrity-bodyguards-smuggled-michael-jackson-room-service-trolley-kim-kardashian-paris?CMP=share_btn_fb

It’s 6am and Bill Whitfield is making coffee at his home in Las Vegas before he drives to work as a high school security guard. Few of the students he now protects know that the big guy in uniform was Michael Jackson’s bodyguard for the last two and a half years of the singer’s life. “Oftentimes I was the last person he spoke to at night and the first person he spoke to in the morning,” he says on the phone, seven years after Jackson’s fatal heart attack. “You couldn’t get to Mr Jackson unless you went through me.”

Whitfield remembers the after-hours visits to bookshops, when Jackson would buy everything. He talks about taking the singer’s children to theme parks without the veils they wore in public with their father. He remembers the fake names used to book hotel rooms (“we used Barney Rubble for a while”) and the decoy SUVs he deployed to keep fans away. And he recalls the descent of the “vultures” after Jackson agreed to a farewell tour.

There were only a few narrow escapes. “On three different occasions we received calls from hotel managers to say that someone had made a threatening call,” Whitfield says. “So in the middle of the night we would need to leave and one of the ways we would do it – and I’ve never really talked about this – was to smuggle Mr Jackson out in a room-service trolley.”



Whitfield, now 50, hasn’t exactly chosen the quiet life. His school is prominent – it is named after its founder, the Vegas-born tennis star Andre Agassi – and he is alert to the threat of shootings. But he doesn’t miss guarding famous people, a job he did for more than a decade after starting out as a Connecticut cop. “It’s a lot harder now because of the way celebrities publicise their wealth,” he says. “You know the record Biggie and Puffy made, Mo Money Mo Problems’? It’s never been more true.”

I ask Whitfield how he felt after Jackson’s death in the summer of 2009. The bodyguard had stayed in Las Vegas to prepare the security for the world tour that was due to start in London two weeks later. Jackson was in a rented mansion in Los Angeles with his physician, who would later be convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the fatal dose of surgical anaesthetic that Jackson demanded for his insomnia. Whitfield had become unfailingly loyal, even forgoing wages while Jackson’s debts multiplied. He remembers carrying in a briefcase two Gone With the Wind Oscars statuettes that Jackson had bought in 1999 for $1.5m. They would be used as currency if the cash ran out.


Whitfield had watched lawyers, promoters and family members circle while the tour took shape. “Mr Jackson said to me at the beginning: ‘Bill, watch; now the vultures are going to start to show up.’ And soon I knew exactly what he meant. I witnessed the heartache and stress. He expressed it to me. So when the word came out that Mr Jackson passed away? After what I had witnessed him go through, the first thing that came to my mind was: ‘Now he’ll rest.’ He didn’t die, he left this place and all of what he was going through.”

That loyalty endures and Whitfield dismisses the more lurid claims about Jackson’s private life. He says the man under the mask was “as normal as the rest of us”. In 2014, he wrote Remembering the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days with Javon Beard, his fellow bodyguard. “Mr Jackson became my friend, someone I cared for and loved,” Whitfield says, before putting down the phone and going to school. “Writing the book was a way of continuing my protection of him.”


I have taken the liberty to post only the section of this article dealing with MJ and his body guards and leave out the other celeb stories. It is an interesting turn of phrase that Mr Whitfield uses when asked how he feels about the passing of MJ. His reply was ‘Now he’ll rest.’ He didn’t die, he left this place and all of what he was going through.”
Also didn't know that TII was supposedly a farewell concert. Another interesting turn of phrase here.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 09:41:05 PM by RK »