The link between a bodyguard and a celebrity is a professional one, but sometimes a true friendship can blossom.

Such is the case between Louis Perry of downtown L.A.’s Kadima Security and Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of singer Michael Jackson. Perry provided Murray’s security detail personally beginning a few weeks before the doctor went to trial in 2011.

Every day Perry would pick Murray up at 4 a.m. at an undisclosed location, drive him to the courthouse and return him to the pick-up spot when court adjourned. For eight weeks the two talked en route and ate lunch together daily.

Though Murray has been depicted as the villain in the saga surrounding Jackson’s death, Perry sees the doctor in a different light.

“He’s a very nice person and an honorable, trustworthy man,” Perry said. “Unfortunately he got to be the fall guy.”

Their friendship has lasted through Murray’s incarceration, and when Murray is scheduled to be released from prison next month, Perry will be there to pick him up.

“From the day they put me or him down into the ground, I’ll always be a friend of his,” Perry said. “He’s just a great guy.”

A Good Ribbing

Most days, former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp works as a lawyer at the downtown Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown, advising clients on a wide range of government-related legal issues. But on the morning of June 11, he could be found greeting some of the thousand-plus customers lined up outside the original Lawry’s Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills for its 75th anniversary.

Van de Kamp, 77, became chairman of the restaurant chain last year. But the business has long been in his family – his uncle was a Lawry’s founder. To celebrate its anniversary, the restaurant announced it was selling prime rib for the original price of $1.25, drawing huge crowds.

“I gotta tell you, that was a lot of fun,” he said. “I walked around the block and there were 1,500 people lined up …. and we had all kinds of people. I asked if they’d been here before and some said, ‘I came here for my birthday parties when I was a kid.’”

Van de Kamp likes to hear from people about birthdays celebrated at Lawry’s over the years. He recalled seeing actor Henry Winkler in the restaurant one day and asked him why he was there.

“He said, ‘Oh, it’s my son’s birthday, and he insists on coming here every year,’” Van de Kamp said. “It’s a great tradition and people love it.”

Staff reporters Tom Dotan and Alfred Lee contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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