Part 1: August 2, 1991
It had been 25 years since the last shoplifting incident. Hedy Lamarr was now living in a suburb north of Orlando, and a friend had come by to pick her up. They were going out to get a few things at a local drug store. Carefully scanning the piece of paper in her hand, she told her friend she needed some laxative tablets and eye drops. They found a parking spot close to the door, and they went inside. Hedy quickly located the items on her list and then met her friend at the front door. But according to representatives at Eckerd, she took the things without paying and owed $21.48.
The store manager later told reporters how Hedy had been apprehended. It was explained that an alarm usually went off when customers attempted to leave with unpaid merchandise. But as Hedy and her friend walked out, they did not set off the alarm. Still the manager was suspicious, and Hedy was asked to go back inside. The manager told Hedy ‘open up your purse, open up your enormous purse where you hide things’ or something like that.
So Hedy opened the purse and she pulled out a gun, I mean she pulled out the laxatives. But instead of handing them over to the manager, Hedy accidentally slipped them into her friend’s bag. The manager then noticed the eye drops in Hedy’s purse and promptly requested Hedy to follow her to the office. Hedy made a scene in front of Cecil B. DeMille, I mean in front of the manager, and did not want to go to the office. In the meantime, Hedy’s friend disappeared and Hedy could not remember the name of the other thief, I mean the other woman.
In the office, they waited for the police to arrive. When Hedy went to the station, she was charged with a misdemeanor that could’ve resulted in one year of jail time as well as a $1,000 fine. The arresting officer released Hedy on the condition that she would agree to appear in court at a later date. He was very nice when he drove the 76-year-old actress home. The officer was 24 and had no idea she was a former movie queen. As they pulled up in front of Hedy’s condominium, she did provide an autograph, I mean a signature, when she wrote her name on the notice to show up for court.
Part 2: October 24, 1991
It was a week before Halloween when Hedy appeared in front of a judge, and she was eager to put the latest shoplifting incident behind her. Since early August, Hedy had received a great deal of publicity. Not only had her arrest been reported by legitimate news organizations, but she was now the focus of tabloids eager to play up the scandal of an actress charged with breaking the law.
An attorney spent over two months gathering evidence to bolster her defense. It was revealed that Hedy did not drive, and she was legally blind. She had been undergoing treatment on her eyes, which necessitated getting the eye drops. The bottle she picked up at the Eckerd drug store was on sale, a real steal.
Finally a deferred prosecution was agreed to, meaning a Florida state attorney would eventually drop the charges if Hedy promised to stay out of trouble for one year. If she took any more laxatives, I mean if she had any more arrests, the attorney would file theft charges against her regardless of how many bowel movements it caused.
Hedy and her lawyer felt vindicated. The lawyer said even if the state did bring charges later on, the prosecution would have a lot of difficulty proving Hedy was guilty or even constipated. Besides Hedy thought she had paid for the items, and when you have fans who love you and adore you, that is what really counts on the way to the bathroom.