Hollywood has had a long fascination with mobsters, and James "Whitey" Bulger was perfect for Tinseltown -- if not for a civilized society.
Several movie and television portrayals have been based either directly or indirectly on Bulger, the infamous Boston mob boss who was found dead Tuesday in a West Virginia prison.
The 89-year-old controversial FBI informant was famously portrayed by Johnny Depp in the 2015 film “Black Mass,” which was based on the 2001 book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But Bulger’s attorney, Hank Brennan, told the Reporter in 2015 that the book is “pure fantasy” and called Depp’s interpretation of Bulger a “joke.”
“[Bulger] doesn’t act like that; he doesn’t talk like that, in that whisper voice that sounds like Gollum,” Brennan said, referring to the character from "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings."
A fictional character, Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello in the 2006 film “The Departed,” was said to be inspired by the Irish-American crime boss Bulger, according to Deadline. Martin Scorsese’s film won four Academy Awards in 2007, including Best Picture, the Independent reported.
In television shows, Bulger inspired James Woods’ Sully Sullivan in Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” Deadline reported.
Sullivan was also a Boston crime boss who has been in hiding for 20 years, which drew from Bulger, a fugitive for 16 years until he was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
Another Showtime drama, “Brotherhood,” was inspired by the mobster’s life and relationship with his brother, the Independent reported.
The show followed the Jason Isaacs’ Michael Caffee, lifelong gangster, and his brother Jason Clarke’s Tommy Caffee, a local politician, the report said. William Bulger, the gangster’s brother, was a high-ranking official in Massachusetts.
The television series won a Peabody Award in 2006.
NBC’s “The Blacklist” was inspired by Bulger’s capture in 2011, producers said in 2013 at Comic-Con International, according to the Independent. Bulger reportedly inspired the character Raymond “Red” Reddington, a former Navy officer turned criminal who turns himself into the FBI after decades on the run.