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March 13, 2024

Streaking Incident at the 1974 Oscars

On April 2, 1974, Robert Opel apparently posed as a journalist to gain entry to the stage at the 46th Academy Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. He ran naked past David Niven flashing a peace sign while Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor.

Opel streaking during the Academy Awards ceremony in 1974, with host David Niven.

After breaking into laughter momentarily, Niven regained his composure, turned to the audience and quipped, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen... But isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

Later, some evidence arose suggesting that Opel’s appearance was facilitated by the show’s producer, Jack Haley Jr., as a stunt. Robert Metzler, the show’s business manager, believed that the incident had been planned in some way. He said that, during the dress rehearsal, Niven had asked Metzler’s wife to borrow a pen so he could write down the famous ad-lib. Opel apparently had to cut through an expensive background curtain in order to reach the stage.

The episode made Opel something of a celebrity. Producer Allan Carr even asked him to streak at a party for Rudolf Nureyev.


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