BILOXI - Former TV host and actor Gary Collins was arrested in Biloxi Tuesday night after he walked out of a restaurant without paying the bill, Police Chief John Miller said. Collins ordered a meal for $59.35 at Jazzeppi's restaurant on Porter Avenue and failed to pay, even though employees followed him out into the parking lot asking that the bill be paid, Miller said.
Restaurant employees called police around 6:45 p.m. The restaurant is near the police station downtown. Officers found him in a Ford Bronco parked in the driveway of Collins' rental home on Cherokee Street.
Police arrested him on a charge of defrauding an innkeeper. State law makes the charge a felony when the alleged loss exceeds $25.
Collins told a detective he had ordered a steak, bread and salad, and was drinking alcoholic beverages while waiting on his steak.
"He told me they were taking too long to bring his steak and he did not eat his steak. He said he was afraid he would be too drunk to drive by the time they brought it so he decided to leave," Detective Tim McKaig said.
Patrol officers did not perform a DUI test because Collins "was not in physical operation of the vehicle when they found him," McKaig said.
He was booked at the Harrison County jail later Tuesday night and held on $5,000 bond set by Harrison County Justice Court Judge Albert Fountain.
Collins, a six-time Emmy Award nominee, married actress Mary Ann Mobley, a former Miss America from Brandon. He was in Brandon in November when Jackson police arrested him on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Reports show Collins paid a $500 fine two weeks later and did not appear in court.
He has two prior DUI convictions, according to news and entertainment reports. Collins is known from his TV show-host work with "Hour Magazine" and as host of the Miss America pagent, both in the 1980s. He starred in the TV series "The Sixth Sense" in the
1970s and "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" in the '60s. He guest-starred in movies including "Airport" and "Angel in My Pocket."
Sunherald.com updates this story as new information develops.