Oscars’ Gay Streaker Gets His Due in New Documentary

Michael Musto tipped us off that Robert Opel—the gay artist/gallery owner who notoriously streaked during the 1974 Academy Awards—is now the subject of the documentary Uncle Bob, directed by his nephew, Robert Oppel.

Though he made headlines when he raced bare-ass across the stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (prompting host David Niven to make a wisecrack about his “shortcomings”), Opel made a greater contribution to the arts. He was an early photographer for The Advocate and, as the owner of Fey-Way Studios in San Francisco, he championed the work of queer artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Tom of Finland.

Opel was tragically murdered during a robbery in 1979 but Uncle Bob brings his astounding story to life.

As Musto writes:

Uncle Bob (on DVD) is an innovative fantasia filled with vintage clips, interviews, and segments with the young Oppel playing at being his uncle while recreating his filmmaking, his TV appearances, and even his bloody death.

It’s the just the kind of sprawling, unconventional, subjective doc Opel deserves and would have loved.

By the end of it, you feel his shortcomings, if any, were very few.

Though Opel is gone, streaking at awards shows is alive and well—David Monahan ran naked across the stage at MTV’s EMA Awards, blindsiding presenter Hayden Panitierre.

Maybe the Oscars could get a streaker to host this year’s ceremony. It couldn’t be any worse than Eddie Murphy would’ve been.