HOLLYWOOD—While performing what one source described as a "routine check" of an adult video store in Hollywood last evening, Los Angeles Vice Division officers found well-known actor Nick Stahl in one of the arcade booths, allegedly doing what many before him have done in that and similar booths: masturbating—or as the official charge calls it, a misdemeanor "lewd act."
Stahl, who starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Claire Danes in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and who played a pivotal role in the darkly artistic HBO series Carnivale, was taken into custody at about 8:30 Thursday evening, booked and released on $500 bail at about 5 this morning—where he was immediately confronted by a TMZ cameraman who asked him about the bust. Stahl's only comment was to agree with the cameraman's suggestion that it was all a "misunderstanding."
Leaving aside the question of why LA police are wasting taxpayers' money haunting porn shops and theaters looking for masturbators, Stahl has the distinction of being the second Hollywood celebrity caught getting his rocks off in (semi-)public this year. It was only in July that vice cops arrested popular comedian Fred Willard at the Tiki Theater adult store in Hollywood for a similar act.
Though a popular actor with five movies to his credit in 2011, a couple of roles in TV series this year, and three films currently in post-production, Stahl has apparently not had a happy personal life. This past January, he separated from Rose, his wife of three years and an actress in her own right, though the pair had supposedly reconciled after Stahl had disappeared for four days in early May—not the first time he'd dropped below the radar—then returned only to immediately check himself into an alcohol abuse treatment facility—which he soon checked himself out of, went to live with a friend, then disappeared again from June 14 to July 21. Once again, he got rehab for a few days, and though not living with his family, is reportedly attending AA meetings.