Announcing the wrong movie as Best Picture? Nothing compared to this memorable moment from 1974.
David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor, when a naked Robert Opel streaked across the stage...
Robert Opel was a conceptual artist, photographer and gay rights activist. The Oscar streak wasn't his first. As a member of the L.A. hippie scene, Opel had shown up naked at Los Angeles City Council meetings to protest the ban on nudity at area beaches. He was active in the gay liberation movement and in art circles. And he had a gig as a part-time photographer for the gay magazine, The Advocate.
Opel subsequently appeared on the Mike Douglas TV show. And Allan Carr, who went on to produce Grease, hired him to streak a party for the Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
Opel eventually landed in San Francisco where he established Fey-Way Studios, the nation's first openly gay art gallery in 1978. He welcomed avant-garde, controversial work, and was an early supporter of photographer Robert Maplethorpe and Tom of Finland, both of whom had shows at Fey-Way that year. The very next year, Opel, who was just 40 years old at the time, was murdered when two men burst into the studio demanding money and drugs. They ushered Opel and two friends into a back room and tied them up.
Then they shot Opel in the head.
Thirty years later, Opel's nephew and namesake, Robert Oppel (his uncle had dropped one "P" to help protect his family name) returned to the scene of the crime during the research and filming of Uncle Bob, the 2011 movie he directed about his famous relative. "He held me in his arms once," Oppel remembered, "But then he was murdered the year I was born." Oppel suspects that the killing may have been more than a simple robbery, but he can't prove it. The killers, both of whom are in jail, agreed to talk to Oppel for the film, but prison officials refused to grant permission.