In a spectacular climax to the longest manhunt ever mounted by the FBI, federal agents captured the notorious, glamorous Umabomber yesterday. The radical terrorist and darling of the silver screen is the chief suspect in 16 bombings, 23 injuries and three deaths, as well as audience-wowing appearances in the racy Dangerous Liaisons and the smash hit Pulp Fiction, over the last 18 years.
FBI investigators spent a reported $68 million and over 300,000 work hours in their effort to nab the elusive beauty, and as the starlet flashed her million-dollar smile at paparazzi while being led into custody last week, one question arose: Who can blame them?
The star-studded arrest was witnessed by over two million viewers on Pay-Per-View and featured law enforcement officials from seven states as well as celebrity guests Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis.
“The Umabomber’s been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for 18 years,” Variety columnist Bunny Shirer said, “and on People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World list for the last five. That means two things: Boffo Box Office, and Blammo Post Office.”
She later added that MCA/ Universal had been pursuing the Umabomber for years, and that the FBI is very lucky to have her.
“The Umabomber is a ruthless, highly educated extremist with no respect for human life, and whose looks and talent have made her an extremely sought-after property, both in Hollywood and by national law enforcement,” said the Umabomber’s Pulp Fiction co-star Bruce Willis at an exclusive after-arrest party at L.A.’s Viper Room.
The Umabomber, who has lived a life of luxury for years, shielded from media scrutiny by security cameras and bodyguards, was almost impossible to reach, according to FBI spokespersons.
“We must have called her publicist six, seven times a week,” said Tom Bannon of the joint Federal Bureau of Investigation/Screen Actors’ Guild team in charge of tracking the elusive Umabomber throughout her grisly and glamorous career. “Always, it was the same thing: ‘Uma’s not available this week, we’ll get back to you.’”
Police left messages on her voice mail, staked out her manager’s office, and sent her scripts, all to no avail.
“We’re very excited to finally get the Umabomber for the FBI,” said an FBI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Now that we’ve stolen her away from her three-picture deal at Paramount, we can expect higher FBI box-office grosses than ever before.”
After a number of false leads (such as a rumor that 1992’s Final Analysis would be shot on location in Tunisia, causing an expensive and fruitless mobilization of Interpol), FBI detectives got their first real break a year later, when the Umabomber’s bodyguard, Flavio, allegedly punched an FBI photographer who was trying to get inside her limousine.
The Umabomber remained strangely inactive following her starring role in the flop Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, prompting hopeful speculation that her deadly spree may have permanently ended. She returned to the spotlight last year however, with the horrific letter-bombing of timber lobbyist Murray Bilgert, and numerous supporting roles that showed her increasing versatility as an actress.
Experts agree that the Umabomber’s fatal slip-up occurred in 1995, when the star’s publicist convinced the New York Times and Washington Post to print a 35,000-word manifesto against technology alongside a full-page ad for her Oscar-nominated release, Pulp Fiction.
But it was the media campaign for the upcoming release of the irreverent romantic comedy The Truth About Cats and Dogs, co-starring funnywoman Janeane Garofalo, that made the Umabomber’s cap-ture all the more urgent, ac-cor-ding to sources close to the case.
“If that film is a hit, you can erase any doubts about the Umabomber’s staying power as a celebrity,” said FBI spokesman Tom Haver.
According to The Uma-bomb-er’s personal assistant, Denise Mazur, despite persistent rumors that she is involved with Johnny Depp, she is single and looking forward to prison life.
“After all that terrorist bombing and 19-hour days on the set,” Mazur says, “the Umabomber is looking forward to being a regular prisoner again.”