David Niven Interrupted by Streaker at the 1974 Oscars

David Niven was Interrupted by Streaker at the 1974 Oscars

Robert Opel dashed naked from across from backstage during the 46th Academy Awards ceremony and flashed a peace sign with his fingers as he jogged offstage. David Niven was in the middle of an introduction for Elizabeth Taylor as this, the first televised streak occurred, on April 2, 1974, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles.

Streaking was an epidemic in 1973/1974. However, there had been multiple situations where ‘non-crazy’ people ran off into the public without clothes, usually to make a point or win a bet. Often, drinking was involved.

Robert, a part-time photographer for The Advocate, an LGBT publication, became a minor celebrity after the incident. Rumors persist that the event was planned, with Oscar producer Jack Haley, Jr. in on the plot.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen… But isn’t it fascinating to think that the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, was the other big winner that night, earning seven Oscars, including best picture.

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