James “Whitey” Bulger was one of Boston’s most notorious and brutal gangsters before going on the run in 1994. He was captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California, and convicted two years later of 11 murders and other crimes.
The following are seven facts about Bulger, who was found dead in a federal prison in West Virginia on Tuesday:
* After al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in 2011, Bulger succeeded him as No. 1 wanted fugitive on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list.
* Miss Iceland of 1974 was responsible for Bulger’s capture. Anna Bjornsdottir, who had acted in U.S. television shows and commercials under the name Anna Bjorn, had lived near Bulger and girlfriend Catherine Greig in Santa Monica, California. While she was visiting Iceland, she saw a news report about the authorities’ hunt for Bulger. She recognized him as the quiet retiree she knew from Santa Monica and called the FBI, which arrested him in June 2011. Bjornsdottir later claimed a $2 million reward.
* One of the many aliases Bulger used while on the run was that of James Lawlor, a man who Bulger found living on the street in the Los Angeles area. The two men resembled each other so much that Bulger could use Lawlor’s driver’s license and other identity papers. In return, he paid Lawlor’s rent, according to the Boston Globe.
* In his 2013 trial, Bulger was convicted of 11 murders, including the strangulation of a woman. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on a charge that he strangled a second woman. A witness said Bulger insisted that the women’s teeth be pulled to obscure their identity.
* Johnny Depp portrayed Bulger in the 2015 movie “Black Mass,” but the mobster’s lawyer said Bulger had no interest in seeing it and he refused to meet or correspond with Depp while the actor was preparing for the role.
* Frank Costello, the character played by Jack Nicholson in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie “The Departed,” was based loosely on Bulger.
* Bulger was imprisoned from 1956 to 1965 for bank robbery and spent part of that time imprisoned at the notorious Alcatraz federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay. When police raided his Santa Monica apartment, they found several fiction and non-fiction books about criminals, including “Escape From Alcatraz.”
Writing and reporting by Bill Trott; editing by Diane Craft and G Crosse
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