CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- Former film star Hedy Lamarr, who hypnotized fans with her exotic Viennese beauty in the '30s and '40s, is accused of shoplifting $21.48 worth of personal care items, police said Friday.
Lamarr, 76, was arrested Thursday afternoon at an Eckerd Drugs store where employees told police they saw her take the merchandise, police spokesman Patrick Simpson said.
'She was observed by store employees concealing the items and then exiting the store,' Simpson said.
Lamarr allegedly stuffed $21.48 worth of 'personal care items' in her purse. She was stopped by store management and brought back to the store to wait for police, Simpson said.
She was charged with shoplifting, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail and a $1,000 fine, and was issued a citation to appear at Seminole County Court Aug. 20.
Lamarr, who was dressed up like a 'Southern lady' in a bright cotton dress, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, was processed at the scene and not taken to a police station, Simpson said. The arresting officers described her as 'very congenial and polite.'
A police officer gave Lamarr a ride to her Altamonte Springs home, where she is undergoing daily treatment for an eye ailment, Simpson said. Lamarr lives in a condominium in the Orlando suburb.
It was at least the second time Lamarr had been arrested on shoplifting charges. In April 1966, she was acquitted of charges she shoplifted $86 worth of merchandise from a Los Angeles department store.
The former raven-haired film queen, who was the daughter of a wealthy banker in Vienna, achieved American stardom in 1938 when she appeared with Charles Boyer in 'Algiers.'
The success Lamarr achieved in the cinema contrasted with the failures she experienced in her personal life, including six bad marriages. Her last divorce was in 1965 with Beverly Hills attorney Lewis Boies Jr.
She first appeared in 1933 in the Czechoslovakian film 'Ecstasy,' which won her Italy's top cinematic award. Shortly afterwards, she married her first husband, munitions magnate Fritz Mandl.
Mandl emphatically denied a story that he spent a fortune attempting to buy up all prints of the 'Ecstasy' film, which purportedly showed his young wife swimming nude in a forest pool. Others said the woman pictured in the scene was the star's stand-in.