Former Miss Iceland Got Cool $2 Million for Whitey Bulger Tip

Beauty queen once lived next door to Boston gangster.

October 10, 2011, 2:10 PM

Oct. 10, 2011— -- A cat and an Icelandic "canary" brought down the FBI's most wanted fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger.

The tip that led the FBI to former Boston mobster wanted for 19 murders came from former Miss Iceland Anna Bjornsdottir. The 1974 Miss Universe contender collected a cool $2 million reward for her phone call last June.

The Nordic beauty was a former neighbor of Bulger's and his longtime girlfriend and fellow fugitive Catherine Greig who were living under the names Charlie and Carol Gasko, according to the Boston Globe.

The arrest came just days after a fresh publicity campaign mounted by the FBI saturated the airwaves with a 30-second ad aimed at women watching daytime television. The ad showed pictures of Greig and Bulger taken from the 1990's and mentioned her love of plastic surgery and manicures.

"We were trying to reach a different audience to produce new leads in the case. ... We believed that locating Greig would lead us to Bulger. And that's exactly what happened," Richard Teahan, a special agent in the Boston FBI office said.

Former Miss Iceland Turned in 'Whitey' Bulger

Immediately after Bulger's arrest, the FBI would only say that an anonymous tip led to the couple's apprehension.

Within a few days of Bulger's capture, "law enforcement sources" disclosed that the phone call came from Iceland, a seemingly bizarre location that led many to question the authenticity of the FBI's claim.

Bjornsdottir and her husband Halldor Gudmundsoon lived for months at a time in an apartment close to the Princess Eugenia complex in Santa Monica, Calif., where Bulger and Greig had spent the past 13 years living a double life.

Catherine Greig, who was known to her neighbors as Carol Gasko, was taking care of an abandoned cat in the neighborhood. The kindness Greig showed to the stray was noticed by Bjornsdottir who also loved cats. She and her husband Halldor Gudmundson had even published a book about a stray cat they adopted named Mosa.

Although the "Gaskos" normally kept to themselves, according to the Globe, Bjornsdottir recognized Catherine Greig immediately after watching a news story on the FBI ad campaign. She picked up the phone and Bulger and Greig were arrested after a 48-hour stakeout.

Bjornsdottir and her husband lived part time in California and their native Iceland. She used to live fulltime in California after achieving a small level of fame competing in the 1974 Miss Universe pageant as Miss Iceland. She was voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants.

According to the online movie database, IMDB, Bjornsdottir performed under the stage name Anna Bjorn and her career included bit-parts in a number of popular 1980's television shows including Fantasy Island, Remington Steele and Diff'rent Strokes. Bjornsodottir She was also the face of Noxema for a series of commercials in the 1970s.

Anna Bjornsdottir did not respond to ABC attempts to reach her today.

Brad Garrett, a former special agent for the FBI, said that once the news leaked that the tipster came from Iceland it can't have been too difficult to track down the tipster's identity.

"I don't think it would take a lot of work to go back to that building and figure out the identity of this woman. I would just say it's the reality of today's environment," said Garrett.

Garrett does not believe that the unmasking of Anna Bjornsdottir will have a chilling effect on future FBI tipsters. "The every day citizen who reports things to law enforcement will likely continue to do so. Most people want to do the right thing and they end up doing the right thing," said Garrett.

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