'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' Star Lainie Kazan Was Arrested For Alleged Shoplifting — REPORT
Break out the Windex, folks, because it looks like Mama Portokalos' legal record might be in need of a miracle cleanser. If the reports are true, My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Lainie Kazan was arrested for shoplifting this past Sunday, Dec. 24. According to TMZ, the 77-year-old spitfire actor's Christmas Eve plans reportedly went awry during a last-minute, 4 p.m. grocery run at a Gelson's supermarket just outside of Los Angeles. (Bustle reached out to Kazan's agent and the LAPD for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)
Kazan allegedly stockpiled $180 worth of food into her grocery cart before wheeling it outside the store, TMZ reported. She'd reportedly even loaded the items into several reusable bags before making her exit. That's usually what you do in California when you've got $180 worth of groceries in your cart and want to avoid the cashier's inevitably snide looks upon your request for paper (not to mention the 10-cent per bag fee). But, in Kazan's case, the reason might have been a bit different.
After corralling her eco-friendly cargo, Kazan allegedly dodged the supermarket's check-out line before making her untimely exit. The actor was reportedly making her way over to her car when a Gelson's employee stopped her and called the police, according to TMZ.
According to TMZ, who cited law enforcement officials in their report, Kazan was reportedly arrested on-site for alleged petty theft, handcuffed, and taken to a local police station in the San Fernando Valley (the L.A.-adjacent suburb where Kazan's arrest took place). She was reportedly later released without bail. A police spokesperson confirmed to E! News on Tuesday morning, Dec. 26, that Kazan received a shoplifting citation before her release. According to E!, the spokesperson did not provide further details.
So far, Kazan has refrained to comment on the arrest. But, per several anonymous sources cited in TMZ's report, the actor did have something to say on Sunday afternoon. Sources told the outlet that Kazan's alleged pre-dine and dash maneuver wasn't just a holiday madness-induced accident. Rather, her explanation for failing to pay was this: She reportedly didn't have the cash on her.
Though Kazan's early career touts a robust list of stage credits, she is perhaps best known (to contemporary movie watchers, at least) for her knockout performance as the wonderfully eccentric (and eccentrically Greek) mother of bride-to-be Toula Portokalos in the original Greek Wedding screen sensation, as well as its comparatively less lucrative 2016 sequel. Kazan also briefly reprised her role as no-nonsense (well, some nonsense) matriarch Maria Portokalos — a side-splitting portrayal that put kooky helicopter parents everywhere to shame — in CBS's short-lived TV spinoff, My Big Fat Greek Life.
In addition to her slapstick jaunts in both Greek Wedding installments, Kazan's comedic repertoire boasts a number of big-league titles across both film and TV, including a supporting role in 2008's You Don't Mess With the Zohan (the Adam Sandler-fronted critical blunder, despite its relative box office success), as well as a recurring part on Desperate Housewives (R.I.P. Wisteria Lane).
So, what will come of Kazan's alleged shoplifting citation? The (metaphorical) jury's still out on that one. But, on the bright side, it will probably take quite a bit more than a grocery store arrest to strike down Kazan's lofty street cred. For fans of her absurd onscreen shenanigans, Kazan's perennial reputation as the overbearing bunt cake skeptic with an unwavering trust in the cure-all powers of Windex has probably long-been solidified.